A recent report issued on November 10, 2022 by the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller found various flaws in the training provided to New Jersey State Police (“NJSP”) officers. Deficiencies in officer training is an issue that must concern everyone. Here are some of the issues discussed in the report.:
- Training on such issues as the “Use of Force” policy deviated from the established curriculum, and instructors who were observed during training sessions appeared to have no interest in the training. At least one instructor described sections of courses dealing with issues such as culture and diversity in very negative terms. Another instructor reduced the time allotted to discuss prejudice and discrimination, and omitted a video on hate crimes that was to be shown as part of the course.
- Representatives of the NJSP Training Bureau are supposed to observe instructors to determine whether training is being presented appropriately, and to identify areas where training can be improved. Feedback from instructors indicated a lack of consistency in how and/or when such evaluations would be conducted.
- There are supposed to be formal eligibility and selection criteria for instructors. Some instructors are being allowed to provide training without first demonstrating that they meet these criteria by, for example, submitting resumes or being interviewed.
- NJSP does not ensure that officers who are promoted complete leadership training courses within six months of their promotion. Troopers who are promoted are supposed to complete rank-specific training within that time period.
- Academy recruits are not asked for feedback concerning specific courses in the form of course evaluations.
- NJSP lesson plans for specific courses fail to adhere to best practices for adult learning.
- NJSP has no policy or practice of regularly reviewing lesson plans and course materials.