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AG Launches New Office to Publish Criminal Justice, Public Safety Data

Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announce a federal lawsuit to overturn IRS rule invalidating New Jersey’s efforts to restore property tax deductibility July 17

By Press Release

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

According to a release, 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. 

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,” stated Grewal. “To make good policy, we need good data, and the creation of this office reinforces our commitment to evidence-based policymaking. I’m delighted that Dr. Golden has agreed to take on this important new task.” 

“Data analysis gives us the opportunity to review where we’ve been, understand where we are, and plan for where we want to go,” stated Dr. Golden. “Data are vital to transparency and trust, allowing us to make meaningful assessments of performance and develop more informed policies and practices. I look forward to our upcoming data-focused initiatives and am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the chief data officer and impact the way we use data in New Jersey.” 

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 (P.L. 2020, c. 120). OJD will also be responsible for ensuring the department’s compliance with other new statutory reporting requirements relating to asset forfeiture (P.L. 2019, c. 304), juvenile justice (P.L. 2019, c. 363), law enforcement officer suicides (P.L. 2019, c. 368), drug monitoring data (P.L. 2019, c. 504), and recruitment of minority officers (P.L. 2020, c. 107).    

For the past nine years, 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. During that time, Golden also played a leading role in supervising the development of a new statewide use of force dashboard, which allows members of the public to review the use of force incidents involving all 38,000 law enforcement officers in New Jersey.  

Golden earned her Ph.D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida State University and her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Villanova University. 

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