Police Report No Incidents Of Major Discipline

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Verona Police Department logoNew Jersey’s attorney general had set a deadline of Monday for police departments all over the state to disclose which of their officers had been terminated, demoted, lost rank or been suspended for more than five days because of their conduct on the job. The Verona Police Department met that deadline, and reported no major discipline cases during the reporting period set by the attorney general, which was June 15 to December 31, 2020.

That was not the case elsewhere in New Jersey. According to a report on NJ.com, at least 35 officers in other towns were guilty of misconduct, ranging from driving drunk to filing a false report. Police departments had not previously disclosed major discipline cases, but, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, New Jersey’s former Attorney General Gurbir Grewal ordered departments to report them. Police unions sued but the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plan.

Part of the reason for the absence of major discipline incidents in Verona may lie in the training that Verona officers receive. According to the VPD’s annual report, Verona’s officers, who responded to 17,728 calls for service in 2020, attended more than 100 in-person and online training courses last year, totaling more than 1000 hours of training. The classes ranged from crisis intervention training to conflict resolution and de-escalation, as well as suicide intervention and understanding drug addiction.

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The annual report also details the various levels of force that can be used by Verona officers, and how they are applied. Verona police had 10 use of force incidents for all of 2020, but the report notes that use of force can include things like carrying a person into an ambulance when they are resisting or physically restraining a person who needs to be put into handcuffs. The VPD said that there were no injuries due to its application of force last year.

Chief Christopher Kiernan presented the department’s annual report at the May 3 Town Council meeting. You can watch that presentation in the video below or read the report here.

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