May 10, 2023
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) — The Attorney General’s Office today released information regarding New Jersey law enforcement officers who faced major disciplinary action from their agencies in 2022. The release includes information about officers who were suspended for more than five days, demoted or terminated last year.
“Today’s release of information reflects our continuing commitment to increased transparency and accountability in the policing profession,” said Attorney General Platkin. “We know that achieving greater public safety in New Jersey requires greater public trust. This enhanced level of transparency builds upon the work of the directive I issued in November of last year, and compliments the police licensing bill supported by my office and law enforcement leadership statewide, passed by the legislature, and signed into law by Governor Murphy. By embracing greater transparency, the vast majority of New Jersey’s law enforcement officers who serve with honor, professionalism, and courage, are better able to carry out their duties more effectively and safely in service to the people of our state.”
The release is part of the ongoing effort by the Attorney General’s Office to increase public access to information about police discipline and use of force. It is being provided in accordance with Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2021-6, issued in June 2021 in response to a New Jersey Supreme Court decision that year authorizing the public release of certain police disciplinary information.
Under the directive, all New Jersey law enforcement agencies must submit on an annual basis major discipline reporting forms to the Attorney General’s Office containing the names of officers subjected to “major discipline” along with a brief synopsis of the conduct that led to the penalties. The information is also published on the individual agencies’ websites.
AG Directive 2022-14, issued in November 2022, expanded the list of infractions that would be considered major discipline to include among other things: discriminatory conduct, filing a false report, and intentionally performing an improper search. AG Directive 2022-14 was not in effect for this reporting period and as such those violations are not listed in this year’s release. The first year of data under that new directive will be released in 2024, covering the 2023 calendar year.
Additionally, AG Directive 2022-14 required that the major discipline disclosures include a synopsis that provides sufficient detail to enable a reader who is not familiar with the case to fully understand the factual scenario that resulted in the disciplinary action. The 2022 disclosures released today reflect that change, and the Office of the Attorney General is in the process of working with the 21 County Prosecutors to ensure that pre-2022 disclosures reflect the level of detail now required by directive.
The 2022 submissions show that the most frequently occurring offenses were related to attendance, including lateness and call-outs too close to the start of a shift. Descriptions mentioning a use of force-related violation accounted for about four percent of all major disciplinary actions reported for 2022.
Pending cases are not included in this data. Only sustained charges resulting in final sanctions or plea agreements are listed by the submissions. The information being released today is available online at a newly created dashboard which can be found here: https://www.njoag.gov/majordiscipline/
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