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Assemblyman Schaer Dismayed Over Christie's Veto Of Diversity Training

Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer
Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer Photo Credit: New Jersey Legislature website

PASSAIC, N.J. -- Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer, of Passaic, is displeased with Gov. Chris Christie's pocket veto of a bill that would have required local law enforcement departments to develop cultural diversity training courses.

Schaer, who represents the 36th District, was the lead sponsor of legislation he said would better prepare local and county law enforcement agencies throughout the state to handle racial, ethnic, religious and various other diversities.

"Given all that we’ve witnessed in the past year or two throughout the country, it’s clear that we need to place a greater emphasis on partnering law enforcement agencies with ethnic, cultural, religious and social organizations to develop strategies that encourage a meaningful understanding of one another," Schaer said. "This bill would have done just that with little undue burden on law enforcement officers.

"Gov. Christie is apparently fine with the status quo, or perhaps he just didn’t have time to thoroughly read through the bill to understand its intent," Schaer continued. "I’m dismayed at his indifference to the issue given his law enforcement background."

The bill would have required each county and municipal law enforcement department to develop and adopt a cultural diversity training course. The instruction and exercises would be designed to promote positive interaction with diverse groups in a given department's jurisdiction. Officers would participate in the courses as part of in-service training.

"Without an inherent understanding of a particular culture, there can be a tendency towards over-generalization or labeling. This is how stereotyping is born and also how deeply divisive misunderstandings can occur. I intend to continue working with my colleagues to make sure this issue gets the attention it deserves," said Schaer.

As assemblyman for the 36th District, Schaer represents Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, East Rutherford, Little Ferry, Lyndhurst, Moonachie, North Arlington, Passaic, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Rutherford, South Hackensack, Teterboro, Wallington, Wood-Ridge.

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