TRENTON – During a meeting this afternoon with the Department of Law & Public Safety’s “Diversity Council,” Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced a series of initiatives designed to promote diversity throughout the Department. Among other efforts, Attorney General Grewal mandated that all state and county prosecutors undergo implicit bias training and that the Department consider the overall diversity of law firms when deciding which firms to hire for legal services.
“One of New Jersey’s greatest strengths is the diversity of its residents,” Attorney General Grewal wrote in a memorandum issued to all Department employees. “At the Department of Law & Public Safety, we have a special responsibility to reflect and promote that diversity, not simply as the employer of a large and talented workforce, but also as a law enforcement agency tasked with guaranteeing equal protection of our laws and as a regular purchaser of professional services, including outside legal counsel. We must ensure that our actions reflect our values.”
“For nearly 100 years, the men and women of the New Jersey State Police have served diverse communities throughout the state. In lock step with the Attorney General, we continue to explore effective and inclusive strategies with internal and external partners with the goal of allowing our agency to lead the way in demonstrating to other professions how effective diverse organizations should operate,” said Acting Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan.
The memorandum identified a number of diversity initiatives, including:
- Redoubling efforts to promote diversity at the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), including efforts to develop a pipeline of highly qualified applicants from all backgrounds.
- Requiring that each of the Department’s 13 divisions develop its own “diversity and inclusion plan” that identifies specific goals, objectives and the methods to achieve them.
- Mandating implicit bias training for all NJSP law enforcement officers, all prosecutors and detectives employed by the Division of Criminal Justice, and all prosecutors and detectives employed by the 21 County Prosecutor’s Offices.
- Creating a new human resources unit that will focus on Department-wide
recruitment, retention, promotion, and professional development for all employees, with a particular emphasis on promoting diversity.
- Launching a pilot program that provides employees equal access to seek out new and challenging work assignments outside of their typical workload, thereby allowing them to test their interests and talents in new areas, develop additional skills that may qualify them for promotions, and increase their visibility within the Department.
- Developing and hosting programs to educate all New Jersey law firms – including women- and minority-owned firms – about how to qualify for the “Approved Special Counsel Lists” that are used by the Department in selecting outside counsel to represent the State.
- Requiring that law firms seeking to be included on the “Approved Special Counsel Lists” complete a diversity questionnaire that the Department will take into consideration in its selection process.
- Issuing an annual “Diversity & Inclusion Report,” that will include demographic data and comparative analyses about the Department’s diversity efforts.
Attorney General Grewal tasked the Department’s Chief Diversity Officer, Assistant Attorney General Lora Fong, to prioritize and pursue these initiatives in her leadership and implementation of the Department’s diversity and inclusion mission.
As part of the diversity initiative, Attorney General Grewal directed that all members of the Department’s senior leadership attend implicit bias training. Last Thursday, Attorney General Grewal participated in a training of his own, along with NJSP Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Director of New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Jared Maples, and other Department leaders.
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