N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal launches office for crime statistics, analysis

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N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. Photo: njoag.gov

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced June 28, 2021, the creation of a new office in the Department of Law & Public Safety to collect, analyze, and publish statewide data on criminal justice and public safety matters.

Grewal is the first Indian-American appointed as AG in New Jersey, back in January 2018. Since assuming office, Grewal has prioritized four initiatives – protecting state residents in court, fighting the opioid crisis, combatting gun violence, and strengthening community trust, according to the website of the Office of Attorney General.

The office—to be known as the “Office of Justice Data” (OJD)—will be led by Dr. Kristin Golden, who will serve as the Department’s first Chief Data Officer, a press release from the AG’s Office said.

The OJD will be responsible for coordinating the Department’s various data collection obligations and ensuring that such data is made available to the public in a timely and accessible manner.

In addition, OJD will work with other criminal justice and law enforcement stakeholders to ensure that New Jersey’s criminal justice policymaking is rooted in data and rigorous statistical analysis.

“We’re committed to making New Jersey a national leader in the collection and analysis of criminal justice data,” Attorney General Grewal is quoted saying in the press release. “To make good policy, we need good data, and the creation of this office reinforces our commitment to evidence-based policymaking,” he added.

“Data analysis gives us the opportunity to review where we’ve been, understand where we are, and plan for where we want to go,” said Dr. Golden. “Data are vital to transparency and trust, allowing us to make meaningful assessments of performance and develop more informed policies and practices.”

Among its responsibilities, OJD will ensure that the Department complies with the various data collection obligations imposed by statute in recent years, including a November 2020 law that requires the Attorney General to establish a statewide program to collect, record, and analyze data relating to criminal defendants.

The OJD will also be responsible for ensuring the Department’s compliance with other new statutory reporting requirements relating to asset forfeiture, juvenile justice, law enforcement officer suicides, drug monitoring data, and recruitment of minority officers, the press release said.

For the past nine years, Dr. Golden has served as a Special Investigator in the Attorney General’s Office of Law Enforcement Professional Standards (OLEPS), where she has collected and analyzed data assessing the New Jersey State Police’s compliance with its policies and procedures.

The Department posted a job vacancy announcement for four Research Scientists who will work with Dr. Golden – www.nj.gov/oag/job-postings/21_236_ResearchScientist1_OJD.pdf

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