ACLU-NJ Praises Newark’s Adoption of Stop-and-Frisk Transparency Policy

July 9, 2013

Order requires documentation of police stops and regular public reporting of data

NEWARK – As debate concerning New York City’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy carries on, the city of Newark today issued one of the most comprehensive policies in the nation requiring the tracking and public reporting of the police department’s stop-and-frisk practices.

The Newark Police Department issued a general order, known as the “Police Transparency Policy,” requiring officers to document each stop regardless of the outcome, explain the reasons for the stop and the demographic information (including race, sex, age, and language proficiency) of the person being stopped, and note whether the person was frisked or whether force was used. Police will also be required to note whether the person stopped is a student.

A summary of the data collected by the officers will be released to the public on a monthly basis, allowing the public to determine whether the practice is administered judiciously. Concurrently, Newark Mayor Cory Booker introduced a resolution to the Municipal Council in support of the general order.

“Newark has taken an important step today in instituting greater transparency in policing practices, and in building the trust and confidence of the public in our police force,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Udi Ofer. “This new policy gives New Jerseyans a close look into how policing is administered in our largest city, and should serve as a model for the rest of the state and nation.”

Specifically, this new policy will require that the Newark Police Department:

  • Post statistics on its website every month detailing field inquiry reports, use of force reports, and internal affairs data.
  • Include in the field inquiry reports information on the number of stops, frisks and searches citywide by each police sector and a breakdown of the stops by race, gender, age, and limited English proficiency. The report must also include an explanation of the reason for the stop, and the number of individuals who received a summons or were arrested as a result of a stop in each police sector.
  • Include in its use of force reports the total number of incidents and a description of the force used.
  • Include in its internal affairs data the number of citizen and departmental complaints received, sustained, administratively closed, exonerated, not sustained, and unfounded. The advocate unit must also provide the number of hearings held, officers disciplined and types of discipline.

“With this policy in place, New Jerseyans will have a much clearer sense of who is stopped and for what reasons, and whether this tactic is being used against innocent people or in a discriminatory manner,” said Ofer. “The ACLU-NJ commends Mayor Booker, Police Director DeMaio, and the Newark Municipal Council for working together to institute this important policy.”

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