New Jersey State Police 'nEver Meaningfully Grappled' With Discriminatory Practices, Official Finds

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey State Police didn't do all they could to prevent discriminatory policing practices from their ranks, the state's comptroller said in a new report issued Tuesday.

The report found that while the state police regularly issued lengthy reports on racial profiling, “leaders never meaningfully grappled with certain data trends that indicated persistent, adverse treatment of racial and ethnic minority motorists,” the comptroller's office said.

“The fact that for years the State Police was aware of data showing disparate treatment of people of color on our roads — yet took no action to combat those trends — shows that the problems run deeper than previously realized," Acting State Comptroller Kevin Walsh said in a statement.

The report comes as part of the state comptroller's mandate under a 2009 law to conduct an annual review of the state police and its Office of Law Enforcement Professional Standards. It also follows a 2023 report commissioned by the state attorney general that found evidence of discrimination against Black and Latino drivers.

The professional standards office told the comptroller it repeatedly requested that state police offer any “organizational, environmental, or contextual” information to explain these trends. But “most times” state police offered little information or limited responses, according to the comptroller.

In a statement, Attorney General Matt Platkin, who oversees the state police, said he reviewed the report and called many of its findings “inexcusable and deeply troubling.”

“It is not acceptable for a modern law enforcement agency to ignore the impact bias and implicit bias have on all professions — including law enforcement,” Platkin said.

The state police said they are committed to accountability and public trust, according to a statement from Sgt. Charles Marchan. Marchan said the force had “exceeded mandated requirements” and met requests from the attorney general's office as well.

“As information technology improves in our modern digital era, the New Jersey State Police continues to improve and update our capabilities on how data is collected and analyzed,” he said.

New Jersey State Police were under federal supervision stemming from racial profiling allegations on state highways for a decade until 2009, when the state came up with policies aimed at continuing oversight and ending discriminatory policing during traffic stops.