Does the South Orange Police Department have a Use of Force policy?

Yes, the South Orange Police Department has recently revised its Use of Force policy, which in addition to being compliant with the current Attorney General’s Guideline on Use of Force, has explicitly stated the following:

  • Directs officers that their duty to intervene requires them to attempt to prevent unauthorized force they reasonably believe another officer may perform as well as report unauthorized force of which they have knowledge;
  • Added information on Enhanced Mechanical Force and clarified that SOPD officers are not authorized, trained, or equipped to use this force option;
  • Directs officers to attempt to de-escalate encounters whenever feasible;
  • Defines Chokeholds/Neck/Carotid restraints and explicitly states that they are Deadly Force that is not authorized except under very limited circumstances in which it is necessary to address an imminent threat to life;
  • Directs officers to consider an individual’s mental, physical, or other incapacities when they fail to comply and consider other means to resolve situations without the use of force
  • Explicitly states that officers have a duty to provide prompt medical care;
  • Directs officers to ensure the breathing of subjects under their control is not obstructed;
  • Directs officers to not sit, kneel, or stand on a person’s chest or back;
  • Directs officers to not use force on a person that is in restraints unless such force is objectively reasonable and necessary to prevent escape, imminent injury, or property damage;
  • Directs supervisors to review all available information and evidence prior to approving a Use of Force report;
  • Clarifies and explicitly states the conditions under which notifications to the County Prosecutor are required;
  • Explicitly states that all instances in which force is used by a South Orange Police Officer shall undergo review by Internal Affairs.

The Attorney General has stated his intention to publish a comprehensive, state-wide revision to the Use of Force policy by the end of 2020; however, we believe that the mission of the South Orange Police Department required us to revise our policy as soon as it was feasible. These revisions were made to provide all those authorized to use force with as much clear, direct, and explicit guidance as possible on their expectations and responsibilities under our current operating parameters.

Additionally, per long-standing state law, and unlike many other states, the New Jersey Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer in the state and has the responsibility and broad authority to secure the benefits of a uniform and efficient enforcement of the criminal law and administration of the criminal justice system. As such the Attorney General routinely issues statewide policy documents known as “law enforcement directives,” which require compliance and are binding on all law enforcement agencies and all 36,000 state, county, and local law enforcement officers.

The Attorney General then delegates the authority of the Office to the County Prosecutors, who are the chief law enforcement officers in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. The Essex County Prosecutor is responsible for direction, control, and oversight of all law enforcement agencies in Essex County. The South Orange Police Department is accountable to the County Prosecutor for compliance with the Attorney General’s Directives as well as any subsequent orders from the County Prosecutor’s Office.

For additional information from the Attorney General’s Excellence in Policing Initiative, please visit:

For additional information on the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, please visit:

Show All Answers

1. What is the hiring process like to become a South Orange Police Officer?
2. What type of continuing education and or training does a South Orange Police Officer receive during their career?
3. Why is the word PROUD written on the back of all of the department’s police vehicles?
4. Do South Orange Police Officer’s currently wear body worn cameras?
5. What is the Primary function of the Internal Affairs Unit at The South Orange Police Department?
6. Does the South Orange Police Department have an early warning system which identifies problematic behavior or actions prior to them becoming a much larger issue?
7. Can an anonymous person file a complaint against a South Orange Police Officer?
8. Does the South Orange Police Department have a Use of Force policy?
9. Are South Orange Police Officers trained to verbally de-escalate a situation before resorting to using force?
10. Are there any circumstances where a South Orange Police Officer is permitted to use excessive force?
11. Can a South Orange Police Officer shoot at or from a moving vehicle?
12. Are South Orange Police Officers required to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force?
13. Are South Orange Police Officers required to report incidents where they have used force?
14. What is the difference between a Use of Force Report and a complaint of excessive force?
15. What use of force options are available to a South Orange Police Officer?
16. Under what circumstances may a South Orange Police Officer use physical or mechanical force?
17. Under what circumstances may a South Orange Police Officer use deadly force?
18. Are South Orange Police Officers permitted to use chokeholds?
19. If a South Orange Police Officer uses force during an encounter, are they trained to administer the necessary medical aid to the subject should it be required?
20. Do the South Orange Police Department’s policies and procedures regarding Use of Force align with the “8 Can’t Wait” campaign?
21. Does the South Orange Police Department have any options in place to redirect juvenile offenders out of the criminal justice system?
22. What is the level of police involvement with youth and in schools (specifically, DARE, LEAD, SROs, and athletics)?
23. Does the South Orange Police Department currently have a civilian review board?
24. What types of calls for service does a South Orange Police Officer respond to? What other resources does South Orange have to reduce the number of calls to the police?
25. Does the racial makeup of the South Orange Police Department reflect the community it serves?
26. How can I obtain a copy of a police report?
27. How do I apply for a firearms ID card and/or a handgun permit?
28. Where I can I learn more about the South Orange Village Digital Video System?