NJ Lawmakers Must Reform Traffic Enforcement

August 10 2023

CPE Senior Director of Law Enforcement Initiatives Niles Wilson recently penned an op-ed for NJ Spotlight News about the need for a more thoughtful approach to traffic safety in the State of New Jersey that eliminates unnecessary low-level traffic stops by police for issues that do not require armed police response. In the piece, Wilson calls on New Jersey lawmakers to introduce legislation to limit traffic stops for offenses not related to safety and address racial disparities in enforcement.

The following is an excerpt from the publication:

Last month, Attorney General Matthew Platkin launched a pilot program to address stark racial disparities uncovered by an analysis of over 6 million New Jersey State Police traffic stops. The data from 2009-2021 found that Black and Latinx drivers were, respectively, 9.3% and 16.1% more likely to be pulled over than white drivers; 89.8% and 46.4% more likely to be searched; and 130% and 27.5% more likely to have force used against them.

These numbers are shocking, but are they surprising? Not to me.  

I served with the Newark Police Department for 27 years. I moved up through the ranks, retiring as a captain and chief of staff. In the course of my career, I conducted a lot of traffic stops; in the course of my life, I’ve often been the Black man unjustly stopped. Both of these experiences underscore for me the urgent need for legislation to improve traffic-stop data transparency and end some forms of low-level enforcement. 

Read the full article on the NJ Spotlight News website.