Newark police and city officials say their de-escalation training program is working, with not one officer firing his or her weapon while on duty in 2020.
The New Jersey police force faced huge challenges this year, with officers being exposed to COVID-19 on the job, and protestors marching against police brutality in the summer.
While 2020 was stressful, Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose says the staff utilized their de-escalation training to keep the peace.
Ambrose said in a statement: “Our officers… are actively employing this resource when engaging with the community.
“Our training also played a huge role in Newark having zero violence during this year’s protests of the murder of George Floyd. The community and police worked together to ensure that non-Newark residents, who came here to protest, didn’t initiate any violence in our City.”
Overall crime was also down 6% in the city in 2020, with police officers recovering 496 illegal firearms—a 7% increase over last year.
“Removing 496 illegal firearms from our streets equals at least 496 fewer victims of violence and fewer funerals,” Ambrose said.
This kind of success might become a trend, as de-escalation training programs roll out in other police forces across the country.