Speaker Carl Heastie today announced that the Assembly has passed the Police Statistic and Transparency (STAT) Act, which would provide for collection of data concerning police and court activities, in order to promote transparency and help researchers and the public evaluate the effectiveness of criminal justice policies.
The Assembly Majority has fought for years to deliver critical justice reforms and bring transparency to the public regarding policing policies, said Speaker Heastie. We cannot afford to wait a moment longer. Recent events have renewed the call for these reforms, and we are glad to see that after years of passage in the Peoples House that they will finally become law.
All across the nation, Americans are calling for justice and accountability from our law enforcement agencies, said Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol. This legislation will provide the public with the transparency they deserve, and allow the Legislature to make informed, evidence-based decisions regarding future policy decisions.
Under the STAT Act, the Office of Court Administration (OCA) would be required to compile limited, anonymized data concerning misdemeanor and lower-level arrests and court processing (A.10609, Lentol). The data to be collected and reported by county would include:
- the number of misdemeanor offenses and violations charged;
- the type of misdemeanor or violation charged;
- the race, ethnicity, age and sex of the individual charged;
- whether the individual was issued a summons or appearance ticket, was subject to custodial arrest, and whether an arraignment was held as a result of the charge;
- precinct or location where the offense is alleged to have occurred;
- disposition of the case;
- if the case was dismissed, the basis for dismissal; and
- the sentence imposed, including fines, fees and surcharges.
The legislation would also require the chief of every police department, every county sheriff, and the superintendent of state police to promptly report to the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) all arrest-related deaths. The data required to be reported to DCJS would include:
- the number of arrest-related deaths in each county;
- race, ethnicity, age and sex of each such individual;
- zip code or location where the death occurred; and
- a brief description of the circumstances surrounding each death.
The chief administrator of the courts would be required to include this information in the OCAs annual report. The data collected, without personal identifying information, would be made available to the public online, and updated monthly.