Yesterday, following impassioned testimony after testimony, Assembly Bill 5326 advanced out of the Law and Public Safety Committee.
Salvation and Social Justice along with many of you, our partner advocates, faith leaders, and the directly impacted showed up for the community at the State House in support of this important legislation which would establish community led first response team pilot programs in targeted cities throughout the state.
Data supports that the majority of 9-1-1 calls do not need to be responded to by someone with a gun. In NJ, Black residents are subjected to police use of force at 3 times the rate of their white counterparts. We have seen countless examples of what happens when officers who are ill-equipped to respond to mental health and substance use calls report to the scene. Too often it ends tragically.
A5326, would not only support the establishment of community led response team pilots in Mercer , Middlesex, Camden, Essex and Passaic counties, but it would allocate a total of $10 million to establish an Advisory Council to support its effective implementation.
We want to thank Assemblyman Spearman for his leadership in sponsoring the bill, as well as all of you who showed the true definition of people power with your support and advocacy.
Here’s what we can expect next...
A5326 will be up for a hearing in the Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee. We are calling on all of you to turn out in support of the bill just as you did yesterday.
After that, on to the Senate!
We will keep you all updated.
Watch the testimonies below.
Rev. John Taylor, Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church
Racquel Romans Henry, Policy Director for SandSJ
Keyion Jones, High-Risk Interventionist for the Trenton Restorative Street Team
Rev. Charles Boyer, Paster of Greater Mt. Zion AME Church, Executive Director of SandSJ