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John R. Hagerty, State Police Public Information Office
(609) 882-2000 x6515

Sgt. Al Della Fave
(609) 882-2000 x6514

Link to Report in PDF Format (548kb)

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       W. Trenton - Colonel Carson J. Dunbar, Jr., Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today issued the second annual report detailing internal investigations involving allegations of trooper misconduct, violations of State Police rules and regulations, citizen complaints and public compliments lodged with the Office of Professional Standards (formerly the Internal Affairs Bureau).

       During the Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2000 report period, the Office of Professional Standards received and/or initiated 584 internal and external complaints regarding trooper conduct - a 65 percent increase from the comparative period in 1999. The majority of reports filed by members of the public focused on complaints regarding differential treatment, failure to perform duties and attitude and demeanor. During calendar year 1999, the State Police initiated 353 internal investigations while 223 complaints were processed in 1998.

     Given the State Police commitment to fully investigate every legitimate complaint, the implementation of a public information and awareness campaign geared to heighten public knowledge about how and where to file complaints, the implementation of easy-to-read and understand complaint forms in English and Spanish, the restructuring of the State Police internal affairs investigative process and the issuance of over 400,000 summonses and/or negative encounters with the public, Col. Dunbar said that the increase in complaints was not unexpected and is viewed as in keeping with the goal of ensuring the public confidence.

       The Office of Professional Standards accepts, reviews and responds to all complaints received from the public, including anonymous complaints, complaints from third party witnesses and complaints from parties not directly involved in an incident from which allegations arise. The investigation process assesses the propriety of all conduct during the incident in which the alleged misconduct occurred. If, during the course of an investigation, there is an indication that misconduct occurred other than the alleged, the Office of Professional Standards also investigates the additional potential misconduct.

      Of the 584 complaints received and processed in 2000, 469 were initiated by members of the public and 115 were initiated internally. Of the complaints initiated by the public, 266 or 57 percent were brought by citizens who had been arrested (56) or issued a motor vehicle summons (210). Another 197 (42 percent) complaints were filed by citizens who were not arrested or had received any type of motor vehicle summons.

      At the conclusion of the report period, 174 of the 469 citizen complaints had been resolved. Sixty-seven complaints were closed by investigation and/or review of mobile video recordings of incidents where the evidence showed that there were no violations of State Police policies or procedures. Additionally, 107 investigations were completed with 10 of those complaints substantiated. Investigation continues into 295 citizen complaints.

       The State Police Superintendent noted that during the report period, the State Police received 537 letters of compliment via the compliment/complaint form, 854 letters of appreciation from members of the public and 33 hotline calls and/or E-Mail messages praising troopers for the work they do on a daily basis.

       The Office of Professional Standards, which reports directly to the Superintendent, was restructured on Jan. 29, 2000. The restructuring incorporated significant change in the way internal affairs matters are handled - from the filing of complaints by members of the public, to increased staffing of the Internal Investigation Unit and the Administrative Internal Proceedings Unit, to the way investigations are managed, to the public accountability of the internal affairs process. The reform efforts are geared to improve the level of public service and, more importantly, to improve public accountability of State Police actions.

        According to Dunbar, the Office of Professional Standards has achieved notable accomplishments in the way the State Police polices' itself, however the issue of timeliness remains of concern. He noted that troopers and their associations, the Federal monitor, the Office of the Attorney General and the public-at-large all share concerns regarding the time period required to bring internal investigations to conclusion.

         As of December 2000, there were more than 120 cases that are 12-24 months old and seven cases that are more than 24 months old. In addition, 132 cases have been in the system from four to 12 months. As a result, Col. Dunbar said that the Office of Professional Standards is moving to create a system in which all but the most complex cases are completed within 120 days. Thus far during the year 2001, over 160 cases have been closed.

        Dunbar indicated that the mobile video camera system has served as a great investigative tool in resolving allegations of trooper misconduct. In 67 cases, the review of videotapes has allowed the Office of Professional Standards to expeditiously close investigations. Additionally, the in-car camera video tapes have demonstrated that a number of citizen complaints are totally without merit and are maliciously filed with the intent of resolving or mitigating traffic summonses - cases that are reviewed for possible prosecution by either the Division of Criminal Justice or county prosecutors' offices.

         Col. Dunbar said that both the public and the state police have legitimate expectations when it comes to the conduct of internal affairs matters. In moving to re-organize, streamline and improve accountability of internal affairs matters, the State Police is working to ensure that citizen reports of police misconduct are thoroughly, objectively, and expeditiously investigated to their logical conclusion and that the investigations be conducted in a manner which protects, and not violates, the rights of accused troopers.

         In order to assure the public that complaints are welcome and that they will be investigated in as timely a fashion as possible, the State Police has established the following avenues regarding the compliment/complaint process:

  • The hiring of a former Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as supervisor of the Internal Investigation Unit;
  • Increasing the staffing of the Office of Professional Standards from 19 detectives and support staff in 1998 to 54 full-time, experienced detectives and support staff at the rank of Sgt. or above in 2000 and the creation of a temporary special task force of over 100 detectives to address the current backlog of cases;
  • Requesting additional prosecutor's from the Attorney General's Office to prosecute cases;
  • Granting complete access to the Federal Monitor and staff to all Office of Professional Standard investigation files;
  • Implementing a multi-copy, easy to read and understand complaint/compliment form in English and Spanish that is available at any State Police station, Division Headquarters and other public locations;
  • Accepting complaints/compliments 24 hours a day, 365 days a year;
  • The posting of "plain language" signs in every station which clearly explain the complaint/compliment procedure (English and Spanish);
  • Producing an easy to read information card (English and Spanish) that explains the complaint/compliment procedure, and which is available at State Police stations, from individual troopers patrolling the highways and at other public locations;
  • Creating a new complaint/compliment Web Page Site accessible via the New Jersey State Police Internet Home Page at www.njsp.org;
  • Establishing a new complaint/compliment toll-free telephone number at 1-877-253-4125;
  • The staffing of a new, centrally located field office in Freehold, Monmouth County, which allow Office of Professional Standards detectives centralized access to respond to complaints and to conduct investigations anywhere in the state. The office, which is not physically connected to any other State Police facility, is located at 3499 Juniper Plaza, Route 9 Northbound, Suite I-4, Freehold, Monmouth County.

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