Street Cop Training, a private company owned by a formed Middlesex County law enforcement officer, conducted a week-long seminar in Atlantic City in 2021. The seminar was attended by about 1,000 officers from around the country, with about 240 of them from New Jersey. Most of the New Jersey officers paid their attendance fee with taxpayer money. In fact, approximately $75,000 in taxpayer funds were spent so as to allow the New Jersey officers to attend the conference.
The New Jersey state comptroller’s office recently issued a report saying that the seminar glorified violence and harassment, and normalized discriminatory behavior by police officers. According to the comptroller’s report, the instructors taught unconstitutional police practices and promoted a warrior mentality. Speakers at the conference included officers from the Warren Township police department, the Robbinsville Township police department and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. The officer from Warren apparently told the conference “I watched this car come off the highway, and I eye-F— the s— out of the female driver. She doesn’t want to f— me back though.” The Robbinsville officer showed a monkey on a screen while describing a black man during a traffic stop. As part of his accompanying remarks, he stated “That’s not an 18-year-old kid dressed like Jesus coming eastbound out of Trenton. That’s a 75-year-old Black man with a change in driving behavior, came into a gas station.” The Assistant Prosecutor from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office thought the audience should know that “I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you or let you know that I have a 3-inch d—.” The foregoing clearly demonstrates that this conference was a high-level police training seminar geared toward providing quality training to serious law enforcement officers who understand their societal role and seek only to discharge their duties in a Constitutionally correct manner.
The good news is that the report again focused a light on issues that have long existed in the New Jersey law enforcement community. There are 72 police departments in New Jersey staffed by all-white officers. 108 departments in New Jersey are staffed by all male officers. Only 11% of the New Jersey police force consists of female officers. Clearly, New Jersey’s police force is not diverse in any meaningful way, and therefore does not at all reflect the State’s demographics. The other good news is that the Robbinsville officer is now dealing with an internal affairs investigation as a result of the absolute filth that came out during his presentation. At this time, it is not known if official action was taken as to the Warren officer or the Bergen County AP for their brilliant contributions to this highly sophisticated training event.
According to the comptroller’s office, Street Cop has received approximately $320,000 in taxpayer funding from different New Jersey agencies since 2019. Given what occurred at the seminar, and particularly in light of the fact that New Jersey taxpayers are funding this, the State clearly needs to do more to investigate private police training before paying for it. For example, the State needs to determine whether the company offering the training is accredited and, if so, by whom? The State should also insist on seeing sample training materials before the company is hired, as well as use companies that have an established track record for providing such training so that the company’s references can be checked. The citizens of New Jersey – or of any other jurisdiction – deserve better than what was passed off for training in Atlantic City.
James S. Friedman, Esq., is a criminal defense attorney based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mr. Friedman represents defendants in criminal cases in the New Jersey Superior Court in all counties, all New Jersey municipal courts, and the United States district courts in New Jersey and New York City. If you have a criminal charge in one of these courts, start planning your defense by contacting Mr. Friedman to discuss your case.