Friday, January 8th, 2016
Roslyn Brock, chairwoman of the board of director of the National Chapter of the NAACP, joined Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany today for a discussion and demonstration on police use of deadly force.
The session included the use of a firearms simulator to demonstrate scenarios that police may face and quick life-and-death decisions that they may be required to make.
The visit was arranged by the New Jersey State Association of Police Chiefs, in cooperation with the state and national NAACP.
The visit by Brock, who came to Morris County from Maryland, and other members of her organization was a result of the positive feedback received by the New Jersey Chapter of the NAACP, whose president Richard T. Smith participated in a previous firearms training scenario, according to event organizer, State Association of Chiefs of Police, President Christopher Wagner.
They came to get a better understanding of how law enforcement officers are trained to make use-of-force decisions.
Wagner, who also is police chief in Denville, explained that the demonstration and subsequent discussion was connected directly with highly publicized police shooting incidents that have occurred nationwide.
The goal, he said, was to ensure an understanding that many factors play into police use of force, and that brief videos shown repeatedly by the news media after some highly publicized shooting incidents may be misleading and may not accurately represent all factors surrounding an incident.
While NAACP Chairman Brook generally agreed, she said it is important for police and residents and leaders of local communities, especially minority communities, to have better relationships and ongoing dialogue with law enforcement to help avoid incendiary incidents.
At today’s session, Brook personally participated in the firearms simulation. Equipped with a gun, she took the three-sided stage and faced some real-life scenarios portrayed by actors. She conceded that her choices on whether to employ deadly force, during the simulation, were difficult.
Afterwards, Brock, Guadagno, Hoffman, Smith and other officials, including state Director of Criminal Justice Elie Honig and Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp, held a private discussion on matters of police use of force and public response to such incidents.
The Attorney General’s Office and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office have been working to educate leaders of minority communities on use of force training and procedures, and to improve links with community leaders in response to shooting incidents nationwide.