With police departments under scrutiny for excessive use of violence, it’s nice to know that new training programs are being implemented. And in the case of Newark, New Jersey those training programs appear to be working.
Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose says that Newark’s de-escalation training program has led to an impressive feat: not one office fired their weapon on duty in 2020.
Ambrose says that 2020 was his roughest year in a 34-year career in law enforcement. He says that six of 1,100 officers died from COVID-19 and dozens more suffered from the illness. They also faced challenges during Black Lives Matter protests, which called attention to police brutality and racism in policing.
“It was the unknown. It was the unknown that you didn’t know with this disease that you were coming here every day, and these police officers and firefighters going out there, and we didn’t know,” Ambrose said.
“We lost six police officers and going to six funerals, it all wears on you.”
Ambrose credits a de-escalation program implemented in Newark two years go for the department’s restraint in using firearms.
“These things, it takes time for it to work. And I think it worked,” Ambrose says.
“I’m proud of the men and women of Newark police division who took the guns off the street this year. Didn’t fire a shot, came to work during a pandemic, arrested people with guns during the pandemic,” Ambrose says.
During the George Floyd demonstrations, Ambrose joined Newark Mayor Ras J. Barak in taking a knee with protesters:
Lead image: News 12