Two-Year Commitment is First Act of PSEG Foundation’s Powering Equity and Social Justice Initiative

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) and the Rutgers University Center on Policing (COP) today announced the launch of a landmark police reform initiative to help New Jersey police departments review policies and practices, and help them improve relationships with diverse communities.

The PSEG Foundation grant will provide startup funding for the Rutgers COP’s Community Engagement Police Reform Program, an educational and resource center that will help law enforcement agencies conduct reviews and revisions of policies and training. The program provides an opportunity for law enforcement throughout New Jersey to collaborate with experts who can help them develop policies and tactics that are in line with the changing needs of their communities.

“This partnership with the Rutgers University Center on Policing is the exciting first step for PSEG’s Powering Equity and Social Justice Initiative,” said Rick Thigpen, PSEG’s senior vice president for Corporate Citizenship and chairman of the PSEG Foundation. “Working with the Center on Policing supports efforts to more effectively protect the safety of our communities in New Jersey while taking steps to help make the goal of providing equal justice a reality across our state.”

“The PSEG Foundation’s partnership with the Rutgers COP is important to help bolster our communities during this much needed time of healing from all of the social unrest we are experiencing in our nation,” PSEG Foundation President Calvin Ledford Jr. said. 

The program will include educational initiatives alongside other New Jersey law enforcement agencies, community-specific assessments that focus on identifying local needs, and intensive workshops that will help individual police departments formulate strategies for improvement.

“This is a crucial time in our country for police reform and community engagement, and I would like to thank the PSEG Foundation for its generous sponsorship and belief in the importance of working toward better policing and safer communities,” said Linda Tartaglia, director of the Center on Policing, which is based at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

The Rutgers COP will draw on its experience implementing the Newark Police Department’s consent decree, a court-ordered settlement with the Justice Department requiring reform of the police force, as well as those in other major U.S. cities.

Here’s what others are saying:

Anthony Ambrose, Public Safety Director for the City of Newark: “We look forward to expanding upon an already positive relationship between the Rutgers University Center on Policing and the Newark Police Division. We are grateful to the PSEG Foundation for its generous sponsorship in strengthening our partnerships with Newark’s diverse communities.”

Peter Harvey, Policy Adviser to the Rutgers Center on Policing and Independent Monitor for Newark Police Division: “This PSEG Foundation grant is one of the most important actions that a company can take to address a critical area that has prompted the current national discussion on racial justice. This grant will permit police organizations in both New Jersey and the region to be proactive in their careful examination of their existing policies and training to correct practices that do not result in fair and impartial policing. Hopefully, PSEG’s example will be replicated by other socially conscious organizations that are determining how they can be a change agent in American life on social justice issues.” 

John Farmer Jr., Director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and former New Jersey Attorney General: “Twenty years ago, in the midst of New Jersey State Police reform, (former N.J. Department of Law and Public Safety Administrator and recent Executive Policy Adviser to the Rutgers COP) Tom O'Reilly and I discussed the need for a think tank devoted to excellence in policing. The Rutgers Center on Policing and, more recently, the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience at Rutgers, have been the result. I want to thank the PSEG Foundation for recognizing Rutgers' history of strengthening the relationship between police and the communities they serve, and for collaborating with the university as we seek transformative progress in the years ahead.”

The $300,000 PSEG Foundation grant to the Center on Policing is the first of the company’s Powering Equity and Social Justice Initiative – a $1 million commitment to support organizations that address the racial injustice, inequality and human rights in communities of color. The Powering Equity and Social Justice initiative, first established in June, provides philanthropic support to organizations in New Jersey, New York and anywhere PSEG operates.

The Rutgers University Center on Policing’s mission is to integrate research and evidence-based best practices into police operations, violence reduction, problem-solving, community policing, education, training, and the development of criminal justice policy and practices. The COP is committed to furthering education on public safety by sharing its research, helping develop and implement training programs for public safety professionals, and engaging the community in public safety matters.

“Collaborative partnerships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve are important to developing solutions, increasing public trust, and overall making our communities better places to live and work,” Thigpen said. “Funding from the PSEG Foundation will help to address critical social justice issues that our state and the nation is facing.”