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  • NJ A1512
  • Establishes pilot program in Edison Township requiring Attorney General to perform police internal affairs functions.
Introduced
(1/27/2016)
In Committee
(1/27/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill establishes a two year pilot program requiring the Attorney General to perform the internal affairs functions of municipal law enforcement in Edison Township. The bill contains legislative findings and declarations which provide the rationale for the choice of Edison Township as the site of the pilot program. These findings and declarations recognize that every law enforcement agency in the State is required to adopt and implement guidelines consistent with those governing the "Internal Affairs Policy and Procedures" of the Police Management Manual promulgated by the Department of Law and Public Safety. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer of the State and as such has general supervision of criminal justice. All law enforcement officers are obligated to cooperate with and aid the Attorney General and county prosecutors in the performance of their respective duties. When law enforcement agencies conduct internal affairs investigations, they do so under the general supervision of the Attorney General. The integrity of the internal affairs process in each municipality is a crucial component of an effective criminal justice system and the failure of this process to function as it should results in a loss of confidence by the public and possibly a miscarriage of justice. In addition, the legislative findings state that on rare occasions, where a police department has failed in its mission, the county prosecutor's office has temporarily assumed control. For example, in recent years the Union County Prosecutor's office took over the Springfield police department; the Mercer County Prosecutor's office took over the Princeton Township police department; and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office took over the Edison Township police department. Despite these actions by the county prosecutors' offices, intervention on a State level is necessary and the Office of the Attorney General is the appropriate entity to carry out this function. Edison Township is one of a small number of municipalities in New Jersey where, within the past few years, the county prosecutor has intervened in the operation of the police department. Despite this intervention, in many ways the township is representative of many of the larger municipalities within the State, in that Edison has a fairly large police department, but not the largest; is ethnically diverse; does not have unusually high or low rates of crime, poverty, or wealth; and has a large patrol area in terms of square mileage, but not the largest. These factors, when taken as a whole, provide a good basis for the Attorney General to use Edison in its pilot program, since it comprises many characteristics of a range of municipalities with large police forces, thereby allowing the Attorney General to gauge the effectiveness of the pilot program and its applicability to other municipalities with large, troubled police departments. Under the bill, Edison Township would no longer perform internal affairs functions as these functions would be transferred to the Attorney General's Office during the duration of the pilot program. At the conclusion of the two year pilot program, the Attorney General would issue a report recommending whether the pilot program should be expanded to require the Attorney General to perform the internal affairs duties and functions for other municipal law enforcement agencies where the county prosecutor has intervened.
Judiciary
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified