Trenton N.J. – Mayor Reed Gusciora and Trenton Police Department (TPD) Director Steve Wilson are sharing actions that have already been taken to prevent physical violence against civilians in the City of Trenton.
In 2022, the NJ Attorney General mandated that all sworn police officers undergo Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) and Active Bystander for Law Enforcement Project (ABLE) training. The ICAT training provides comprehensive de-escalation and verbal communication tactics to prevent any future application of force by police. ABLE training reaffirms that there is a legal obligation to intervene in instances where there is an unlawful use of force. In both trainings, officers are presented with challenging situations and provided with the deployable tactics and strategies to intervene so that the use of force does not need to be applied. Personnel within the Trenton Police Department participate in de-escalation training twice every year.
With recent instances, such as the one in Memphis, that have occurred in the news, personnel within the Trenton Police Department are reviewing everything that was learned in the past year at each roll call (before they start their shifts); TPD is reminding officers of the training that they received. If officers have any questions, there are opportunities for discussion and an exchange of ideas to ensure that all TPD officers are on the same page and are operating with the same working knowledge.
Mayor W. Reed Gusciora stated, “We have already taken action to ensure that the TPD is equipped with the skills needed to prevent the unlawful use of force. TPD officers are being reminded of what they have learned and what they should be mindful of before they start each shift.”
The Trenton Police Department abides by the New Jersey Attorney General Directive No. 2020-13 and Attorney General Directive No. 2021-14. This policy prohibits all forms of physical violence against a civilian except as a last resort and only after the officer attempts to de-escalate the situation and provides the civilian with an opportunity to comply with the officer’s instructions. This directive prohibits all forms of deadly force including strikes to neck or head except to protect the officer from imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury. Lastly, this standard establishes an affirmative duty to intervene if they observe illegal or excessive force being used against a civilian or to provide medical assistance after any use of force against a civilian.
TPD Director Steve Wilson affirmed, “We are thankful for leadership from the State of New Jersey in ensuring that law enforcement is held to the highest standards in our interactions with civilians. We’ve seen fewer allegations of wrongdoing over the past two years because of these trainings and New Jersey is one of the few states in the country where cases, like the one in Memphis, are immediately reviewed by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.”