Comprehensive dataset is unique around the country and a significant step towards greater transparency
TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Office of Justice Data today released data on the demographics of over 30,000 active, full-time, sworn law enforcement officers in the State of New Jersey. As required by statute, law enforcement agencies across the state submitted de-identified information regarding the age, gender, race, and ethnicity of officers employed as of December 31, 2021.
The data are accessible through an interactive dashboard available at www.njoag.gov/policerecruiting. Users can view state, county, agency, and individual (de-identified) officer data, and compare those statistics to the 2020 U.S. Census information for the relevant jurisdiction.
“In a state as diverse as New Jersey, it is imperative that law enforcement reflect the diversity of the communities we serve, especially as we seek to build trust between police and the community members they are sworn to protect,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “This public release of officer demographic data is an important step towards transparency and achieving that goal. I applaud our dedicated agencies from around the state who are committed to recruiting and training the most effective police forces possible.”
“Collecting data on the demographics of the state’s police officers is vital for transparency and building public trust,” said Chief Data Officer Dr. Kristin Golden of the Office of Justice Data. “These data put New Jersey law enforcement in the unique position of being able to understand the current demographic pattern of officers today, which allows for the accurate assessment of efforts to improve the recruitment of new officers in New Jersey.”
The 2020 law, N.J.S.A. 52:17B-4.10 (the “Act”), required law enforcement agencies to work towards the goal of having their police force reflect the diversity of the population of the community each agency is charged with protecting, as well as establishing these officer demographic data collection requirements. The Act also directed the Attorney General to develop guidelines to ensure the Act’s uniform application. The Guidelines, available here, describe the process by which each law enforcement agency in New Jersey, as defined under the Act, shall establish a program to (1) identify underrepresented groups by comparing the population the agency represents to the composition of its officer force, and (2) take action to address any underrepresentation. The Guidelines additionally, and in accordance with the Act, set forth procedures for the collection and reporting of demographic data regarding recruiting, hiring, promoting, and other personnel actions concerning law enforcement officers in New Jersey. Due to a shortened first reporting period, this data release focuses only on current officers, and not applicant or promotional information. That information will be released after the first full calendar year of reporting.
The Office of Justice Data (“OJD”) coordinates data collection and analysis across the Department of Law and Public Safety, including its criminal, civil, and regulatory agencies. Launched in 2021, OJD focuses on promoting transparency and accountability through timely and accessible public data releases, and particularly in the areas related to criminal justice. OJD also works to ensure that policymaking across the Department is rooted in data and rigorous statistical analysis.