TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Office of Justice Data today released the most recent data on the demographics of over 31,067 active, full-time, sworn officers, as well as new additional information on officer promotions and law enforcement applicants in New Jersey. The data was provided by law enforcement agencies throughout the State which are required by a 2020 statute to submit de-identified information regarding the age, gender, race, and ethnicity of officers employed as of December 31, 2022.
“Building trust between law enforcement and the public is not just a critical component, but an absolute necessity for achieving real change in policing,” said Attorney General Platkin. “While sharing demographic data with the public is an important step towards transparency, it’s just one piece of a larger puzzle. We must continue to work towards implementing substantial reforms and initiatives that strengthen police-community relationships. While I’m proud of the progress made in creating more diverse and representative departments, there is still a long way to go in increasing the number of officers from underrepresented groups in law enforcement.”
“Real change is not enacted by luck or chance. It is forged by data driven policy making and informed decisions,” said Chief Data Officer Dr. Kristin Golden of the Office of Justice Data. “For the first time, we have insight into the demographic pool of law enforcement applicants. Over time, this can provide tremendous insight into recruitment needs and improvements to the application process to help us ensure that our law enforcement agencies are representative of the diverse populations they serve.”
In order to promote greater diversity within law enforcement throughout the State, in 2020, the Legislature passed a law that required law enforcement agencies to work towards the goal of having their police force become more representative of the community of each agency. The law, N.J.S.A. 52:17B-4.10 (the “Act”), also required that officers’ demographic data be collected.
The Act also directed the Attorney General to develop guidelines to ensure the Act’s uniform application.
Under the Act, the guidelines set forth procedures for collecting and reporting demographic data regarding recruiting, hiring, promoting, and other personnel actions concerning law enforcement officers in New Jersey.
Due to 2021’s shortened first reporting period, the previously released data focused only on current officers, not applicants or promotional information.
The data released today contains a full year of law enforcement promotional and applicant data and offers a more complete picture of the State’s incoming officers and command staff.
This year also reflects an encouraging trend of increased black and female applicants becoming sworn police officers. The data also indicates that compared to current officers, new applicants are more diverse.
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, particularly in the areas related to criminal justice. OJD also ensures that policymaking across the Department is rooted in data and rigorous statistical analysis.
The data are accessible through an interactive dashboard available at www.njoag.gov/policerecruiting.