Zero shots fired, in an entire year, by an entire police force is an extraordinary accomplishment. Take into account the realities of massive anti-police brutality protests following the police killing of George Floyd coupled with a surging pandemic, and it is hard to deny that there is something unique about the Newark Police Department. Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose attributes it to the de-escalation training undertaken by the division two years ago. Ambrose says 2020 was the roughest year of his 34-year career in law enforcement. According to him, the department lost several officers to Covid and dozens were sickened with the virus following on-duty exposure. "We lost six police officers and were going to six funerals. It all wears on you." Still, Newark police officers were able to navigate the challenges without firing a single shot. In one especially difficult instance, a throng of 1,700 protesters attempted to take over a precinct. Officers at the scene secured the building and dispersed the crowd without a single shot. Ambrose says that is an outcome of the de-escalation training. "These things, it takes time for it to work. And I think it worked," Ambrose said. Racking up zero shots fired in an entire year is a stunning achievement for any police department in any year; but doing so in the dumpster fire of a year that was 2020 is altogether special. Kudos to Newark Police for demonstrating that de-escalation works. Police departments across the nation can look to Newark as a model of effective police reform.

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