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Schundler Addresses Racial Profiling Issues

Supports Suspending Consent Searches Until MAPPS Is Fully Implemented

(MARGATE, AUGUST 2) - Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Bret Schundler issued the following statement today regarding what he believes would be appropriate actions for the state to take in order to address the issue of racial profiling in New Jersey:

“On the eve of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Atlantic City, at which many of the concerns about racial profiling are to be discussed, I thought it was important to explain what steps I feel would be appropriate for dealing with this issue at the present time.

“We should be encouraged by the fact that the recent monitoring report indicated that the vast majority of our troopers are conducting their jobs in a fair and professional manner. The report indicates that there have only been isolated cases where individual troopers have engaged in inappropriate conduct. We should never make statements that malign the integrity of the majority of our troopers who serve bravely and professionally, simply because some have failed to live up to their responsibilities.

“At the same time, we cannot tolerate representatives of the government who treat people unfairly or who target individuals just because of their race or ethnicity. After speaking with Attorney General Farmer, Col. Dunbar, Senator Gormley, representatives of the Black Minister’s Council, and troopers, I’ve concluded that we should undertake the following:

“First, we should make it illegal under state law for a public official, or a person purporting to be a public official, to knowingly deny an individual of their federally protected civil rights.

“Second, we should suspend consent searches until the state is able to implement the Management Awareness Personnel Performance System (MAPPS) as is required by the federal consent decree entered into by the state. This system will allow us to monitor all stops in real-time so we can make sure that the tool of conducting consent searches is not being misused. Until this system is fully implemented, it would be appropriate to suspend the practice of conducting consent searches.

“Third, the State Police must continue its efforts to diversify the force. In Jersey City we worked hard to diversify our police force, not through quotas that lowered the standards for our officers, but by aggressively recruiting the best and brightest members of minority communities to apply for jobs within the Police Department. As Governor I would give the State Police all of the resources they would need to implement this recruiting effort.

“As we demand that our law enforcement officers act in a professional manner, we must continue to treat them as professionals. This includes providing them with top quality facilities, which is why I also believe the state must commit to fixing up the State Police training center in Sea Girt. Our police deserve to be trained in a facility that is of as high quality as the job we expect them to perform.

“Policing is a difficult job and we must allow our officers to do that job to the best of their ability. As I propose these steps, I think it is extremely important to make it clear that the vast majority of troopers and police officers have done nothing wrong and should not be unfairly maligned.”

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