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That headline isn’t clickbait; you read that correctly!
In 2020, police killed 1,067 people, firing their weapons — merely three people killed daily by police shootings. This isn’t to comment on as to whether the shootings were justified or not, but only to show the frequency at which police shootings happen across our country.
The Newark, New Jersey, Police Department did not contribute to that statistic at all. In fact, in a year where NPD removed 496 illegal firearms from the streets, they did not fire their weapons once.
They didn’t kill one single person and didn’t fire one bullet, which is great because an officer’s job is not to be judge, jury, and executioner. But too often, due to lack of training, officers make split-second decisions that end up being deadly and later proven to have been unnecessary.
Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose, in a post on December 30th, said, “we have worked hard to reduce crime and are committed to keeping our residents and their families safe, especially when it comes to reducing senseless gun violence.”
So what did he credit with the Department’s number of zero shootings?
“This is proof-positive that our de-escalation training is highly effective. Our officers have embraced de-escalation training and are actively employing this resource when engaging with the community. Our training also played a huge role in Newark having zero violence during this year’s protest of the murder of George Floyd. The community and police worked together to ensure that non-Newark residents, who came here to protest, didn’t initiate any violence in our city.”
You read that correctly. In a year that saw nationwide protests aimed directly at police brutality, with some protests even turning violent, Newark police managed to do their job at such a high level that they didn’t have to fire a shot.
That lets us know two things:
One, it’s possible! It’s possible for police to do an often incredibly dangerous job without making the decision to end someone’s life and for an extended period of time.
And two, de-escalation policies work. Across departments all over the country, ones that have implemented de-escalation policies have seen a decrease in officer-involved shootings as well as violent interactions.
It’s time to demand the same from local police departments across the nation; it’s been time.
Thank you to the Newark Police Department for giving us an example of exemplary service and for hopefully inspiring other departments across the country to follow suit!