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Internal Affairs Policies in New Jersey

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Internal affairs policies and procedures in New Jersey are policies which assist the state law enforcement agencies to investigate, receive and resolve all complains from citizen in regards to the police misconduct. This policy is intended to improve the services offered by the police service to the Ney Jersey citizens. These policies and procedures were published in

1991 and updated in 1992.This section of the internal affairs in New Jersey has become a very sensitive area that is under the watchful eyes of the media, courts and the residents in

New Jersey. These policies and procedures have been adopted in the courts particularly in the federal courts in New Jersey. The statute states that ‘’every law enforcement agency shall adopt and implement guidelines which shall be consistent with the guidelines governing the internal affairs policies and procedures of the police management manual promulgated by the police bureau of the division of criminal justice in the department of law and public safety, and shall be consistent with tenure or civil service law, and shall not supersede any excising contractual agreement.’’

Policies and Procedures in Ney Jersey

The policies and procedures in New Jersey are designed to assist and help the police and the other law enforcement agencies through the necessary steps in their efforts to work with the laws and functions that govern the internal affairs in New Jersey. These policies and procedures are very essential in New Jersey and require that all the counties and law enforcement agencies recognize that as they conduct investigations in the internal affairs of New Jersey, they are under the supervision of the Attorney General in New Jersey. (Walker, 2005)

According to N.J.S.A 52: 17B- 98, the Attorney general is the overall supervisor and is responsible for the supervision of the state laws enforcement agencies. The police from the county and municipals have a responsibility to cooperate with the Attorney general’s office in order to adhere to the policies and procedures. County and municipal law agencies must also follow the instructions given by the prosecutor on the critical points in the investigation process. These policies many laws and mandates which at the direction of the Attorney General, are implemented by the law enforcement agencies. However, these laws can only be implemented on a decision by a particular law enforcement agency. The decisions by these agencies are based on the characteristics of the jurisdiction of those specific law enforcement agencies. This simply means that every agency has its own internal affairs function. (Kenneth, 2005)

Hiring requirements of Policies in New Jersey

Internal affairs policies and procedure are determined by the Attorney General if they are critical in nature. In case they are critical, they are enforced by every law enforcement agency. The requirements of these policies and procedures are;-

  • All law enforcement agencies from all counties and municipalities must establish their own written policies in regards to the internal affairs function of the individual law enforcement agencies. This is because not all law enforcement agencies have the same internal affairs function. Note that the internal affairs function differ from county to county and from municipality to municipality.
  • The other policy requirement is that all enforcement agencies must accept without any complains the reports of any officer misconduct from any person form New Jersey without compromise and complains on the same.
  • The other requirement is that the prosecutor must be notified if the initial investigation indicates the slightest possibility of any criminal act on the part of the specific officer who is accused. It is important to note that at this point no action should be taken against the specific officer until directed otherwise by the prosecutor.
  • The prosecutor must always be updated on the different levels of investigations. The prosecutor must also be notified immediately excess force that leads to death or injury is used against a suspect of any citizen or resident in New Jersey.
  • The investigations on the specific officer, who is being accused, must be done thoroughly and completely.
  • The other requirement of these policies is that the officer and the officer in question must be notified of complains made against them or against one of them.
  • The other requirement is that the complainant must be notified of the outcome of the investigations. The complainant must also be updated on the progress of the investigations and not kept in the dark concerning the same.
  • An internal affairs record is very important. It must be kept by all law enforcement agencies. This is because the record system will help in the filing and record keeping of all documents and records in an organized manner.

These policy requirements represent a very important performance standard which should be implemented by municipal and counties law enforcement agencies in New Jersey. These requirements also ensure that the law enforcement officers will be accountable for all their actions to the agency, community and country at large. Therefore, every law enforcement agency should make the internal affairs function a priority if the policies are to be successful. If this system fails it will cost the law enforcement agencies, states criminal justice system their reputation, respect and support from the community. Many procedures are set forth in the policies. These procedures are aimed or intended for the implementation by the municipalities and the counties in New Jersey. (Mckinney, 2003)

Hiring requirements in Procedures in New Jersey

An informed decision can only be made after thorough investigations have been carried out. This will help to support and boost the credibility of the law enforcement agencies in the community and in New Jersey. The law procedures are used in the gathering of all the necessary information in regards to the case at hand. This is very important since it helps to create a clear way for the procedures to be followed. Inadmissible information can cause improper results in the investigations of the cases, it may also cause poor management of the case by the investigators thus tempering with the investigation and the results of the information. Failure to follow these procedures can result to gathering of inadmissible information. These lawful procedures require that; all complains should be investigated professional, objectively and completely. This will ensure that the information gathered will be of a proper disposition with no falsified information. This will also ensure that the information will be used in the court procedures against the misconduct of the law enforcement officer. The lawful procedures also require that the entire internal affairs investigator should only use lawful investigative techniques to question witnesses, inspect the public records, interview the officer in question and question any agency employee or any other witness. This is to ensure that the investigation process and management is put on check and is fairly and justly done.

These procedures recommend that any complainant ant the witness should be interviewed before the agency members are interviewed. This help in avoiding reputation of interviews with the witness and the agency member. It will also ensure a clean and transparent procedure by the law enforcement investigators. (Pierce, 2003)

Duties and Responsibilities of the Internal Affairs Unit

The Internal Affairs unit is established and designed for receiving complains, carrying out investigations on complains and resolving complains of the officer’s misconduct. The reason why the Internal Affairs unit carries out these duties and responsibility is to maintain the integrity of the department in question and the state criminal law as well. It is also to ensure that justice is done in fairness. The Internal affairs unit conducts the investigations on its members from allegations of misconduct made against them. However, the main question has always been if the investigations will be just and fair. This is in consideration of the fact that the Law enforcement agencies will be investigating one of their own. This has however been answered by the law enforcement agencies who suggest that the rules and regulations govern and ensure that the investigations are carried out in a just and fair process. The internal affairs unit also coordinates administrative investigations, which involves the non training of the discharge of firearms by the personnel and the use of excessive force or other misconducts by the law enforcement officers. This unit has a mandate and obligation to carry out investigations and review all allegations of misconduct by the employees. This is because such allegations are a serious violation of the rules put down by the agencies. The internal investigations could also be carried out by the internal affairs unit on their own initiative as permitted by the departments’ policies and procedures. These investigations are as important as any other criminal investigations and must be deemed recognized as important by the involved parties. It is important to note that the law enforcement accused for the corruption complains can only be charged after the investigations have been completed and it has been proven that the officer in question is guilty as charged. The members of the internal affairs unit must have the authority to question and interview every member of the agencies with no exclusions. The rank of the officer or law enforcement officer should not determine the level or the extent of the investigations to be carried out. They must also have the authority to independently review the records and the reports of the agency. It is important to note that the internal Affairs unit acts on behalf of the executive in all the investigations and affairs of the same. The professional commitment and the personal loyalties must be balanced appropriately by the internal affairs unit investigators. The investigations must be carried out in an open way. The investigations should be imposed for the sole reason of imposing discipline amongst the officers. (Rao, 2003)

It can also be carried out for initiating an investigation for ac criminal prosecution. In this regard the internal affairs unit investigator should be trained in all the areas of criminal law, in all the rules of evidence, in the use of technical equipments, court procedures and administrative procedures. The investigators must also be trained on disciplinary procedures among many other areas.

Who do the Internal Affairs Unit Investigators work under?

The criminal justice act of 1970 designated the Attorney general as the enforcer officer of the state of the state law. This simply means that the Attorney general is responsible for the supervision of all the state laws including the law enforcement agencies. The county and municipal agencies report to the prosecutor and must inform the county prosecutors of any misconduct or any potential criminal conduct. All policy requirements which the Attorney General has determined to be critical are implemented by the law enforcement agencies.

The law enforcement executive must focus on the practices of the organization of policies. The executive is responsible for the defining of the objectives and goals of the internal agency units.      The executive must also establish and monitor the performance of the internal unit agencies. This will allow for and effective and efficient system that will be fair and just. It will also help to clearly define the duties and responsibilities of the subordinates. However, these policies, rules and regulations must be workable and achievable. The executive must not define and establish goals and objectives that that are impossible to reach or achieve. This management system services as the foundational system for the internal affairs agencies. This is because it ensures that the system is designed in an organized manner and it ensures that the goals are set in a high standard which can allow the achievement of the same. Therefore, the management system should have rules and regulations. These rules and regulations help to govern the acceptable b behavior and conduct. It is important to note these rules and regulations are issued by or from the appropriate authorities and delegated or designated according the management system. (Rao, 2003) The procedures or the standard operating procedures are very essential and therefore should be incorporated in to the management system. These procedures provide guidance and direction to the different performing law enforcement agencies. The management system should be clear to the entire employee. This will ensure that the environment and the management of the activities of the law enforcement agencies will be workable.

Many court orders have involved internal affairs corrupt police officers. These cases include the charges against the ex Brunswick internal affairs cops. The other case was the ACLA whines cases. This case involved the local justice police force. More than 100,000 complaints were made about the police misconduct. According to the ACLA report, the internal affairs help to protect the rights and safety of the citizens of New Jersey. This report also states that 63 percent of the local law enforcement agencies do not accept anonymous complains. This complains are never investigated at all. The report also states that 79 percent of the law enforcement agencies have violated the rules and regulations of the internal affairs units. It is important to note that the New Brunswick city is known for its activities of reaching out for the community. The purpose for this is to connect of aid the communication between the citizen and the police force. This was because of the arrest of a police officer who was charged with including false documentation into the internal affairs records. The process in New Brunswick is to aid the people who feel that their complains were not listened to or acted upon. Rowe was accused of tampering with public records and obstructing the administration of justice. This is because he made the false entire knowingly with the intention of covering up specific information and replacing the information with false information. This case was awake up call for the internal police. This is because after the hearing of this case the police changed their internal system and management of records. (Mckinney, 2003)

On May 19th 2011 a case was filed against the internal affairs of the complaint of states Trooper Scot Sanders. These complain were as result of the decision by the superior court in New Jersey which found Sanders guilty of conducting an improper and warrantless search of a motor vehicle. This was despite the fact that the search was found by an appellate court to have been illegal. Thus it was a violation a person’s right. However, the state police captain asserted that there was no violation on Saunders part, citing that Sanders did not in any way violate the internal laws of the state of New Jersey. This led to the perfunctory dismissal of the NJLP internal affairs complain. In the matter of Michael Sottilare, on 1st June 2010.Michael went through corrections for over 10 years. He also received four preliminary notice of disciplinary action from his superior. The finals incident resulted to the dismissal of the officer. After the dismissal, Michael made a call to the police local association to help him with the case. In this case the termination of the officer who disclosed pending investigations was affirmed. There are many other cases that arise from complains made by the public that have been investigated and tried. This proves that the internal affairs management system is a success and will continue to improve as time goes by and as revisions on the policies continue to be made.

How the Internal Affairs Policies and Procedures are recently updated

The internal policies and procedures were originally published in 1991.It was then updated in 1992. This was the updated version of the original internal affairs policies and procedures. The main purpose of this policy was mainly to oversee the state office enforcement agencies in the receiving of complains, investigations of complains and the cases plus making resolutions to complains made about the misconduct of the police. This process has however come under a lot of scrutiny since the year 1992.This is because it helps to govern the internal affairs of the law enforcement agencies. The New Jersey has and will always recognize the internal policies and procedures of this policy which was enacted in 1996.It is important to note that this policy focuses on the internal affairs of the courts especially in the federal courts. In regards to the entire attributes concerning this policy, the Attorney General issued a revised version of the internal affairs policy and procedure .The Attorney General did this through the division of criminal justice. The revisions were aimed at helping and assisting the law enforcement agencies to fully and completely comply with the all the emerging legal procedures in the management of the internal agencies activities and functions. All the counties and law enforcement agencies, carry out the internal investigations under the supervision of an executive.   This executive is the Attorney General. The criminal justice Act of 1970 designates the executive, who is the Attorney General as the general supervisor. This simply means that the Attorney general supervises all the functions, policies and procedures of the internal functions of the state office. The newly revised policy contains several rules and regulations that govern it. These rules and regulations must be enforced by all law enforcement agencies. However, in order to achieve the fundamental results of the internal affairs function, there needs to be discipline in the same. Instilling discipline in the law enforcement agencies is a very challenging function and responsibility of the executive but is a very positive step to the achievement of the desired results. The policy management process must have directive order which is documents with outlined details of the performance and basic methods of operations for the internal affairs of the law enforcement agencies. It should also have written statements to give directions to the law enforcement agencies performance and activities. The other requirements are the rules and regulation which govern the activities and functions of the internal affairs of the law enforcement agencies. The rules and regulations are designed to investigate different types or kinds of misconducts. These categories can be classified as; crimes, use of excessive force by the law enforcement officer, unlawful and improper arrest, improper entry into a building by use of excessive force, improper search without a search warrant and use of inappropriate language among many other categories. It is important to note that instilling discipline to the law enforcement officers can be done in stages.

These stages may include; Counseling, transferring the officers, monetary fines, suspension without pay, officers can loose a promotion, demotion, performance notice, written warning among many others. This will help the executive to instill discipline on the law enforcement officers. This will also help to ensure that all the policies and procedures are adhered to by the law enforcement agencies and police officers. The statutes in relation to the ‘’ substantially identical’ which refers to the provision of the states assault fire arms law was updated in August 1996.On the other hand the bias incident investigation standard was enacted in 2002.The guidelines that were revised for negotiating the cases under the N.J.S.A were effective for the offences committed from 15th September 2004.The guidelines for the enforcement of out of state restraining order of protection in domestic violence cases was updated on September 2000.Guidance for investigating all the domestic violence was updated in the year 2009.Drug enforcement narcotics action plan was updated in March 1993.Law enforcement drug testing policy was updated on the updated and revised in May 2003.The graves Act was enacted following the Attorney Generals directives on 23rd October 2008.The guidelines on immigration , according to the Attorney generals directions ( AG directives 2007 – 3 guidelines to establish the manner in which local counties and state law enforcement agencies shall interact with the federal immigration authorities.)Was updated in 2007.The executive order Number 11 was updated in November 1974.This executive order entails the records of the police department. (Kenneth, 2006) The directive number 2002 -2 entails the approval of the search warrant applications, the execution of the search warrants , and all the procedures used to coordinate all the law enforcement agencies. (Mckinney, 2003)

This Act was updated on 8th August 2002.The directive number 2002 – 2 on Memo and form, entails search warrants application forms and was updated on 3rd August 2002. The Attorney general has helped to substantially strengthen the states internal affairs policies by updating these Acts and policies. This will ensure that all the complains against the police officers in New Jersey will be not only be handled properly but will also be monitored and reported. The revised policies provide stricter mandates and requirements for the law enforcement agencies. These policies require the law enforcement agencies to regularly report to the county prosecutors and the residents or citizens in New Jersey. The law enforcement agencies should report all complains received about the misconduct of the police officers in the agencies. They should also report to the county prosecutor and the citizens of New Jersey regarding the nature of all the allegations and the disposition of all the cases there in.

It is important to note that the Attorney Generals internal affairs policy was updated and revised in November 2004.The Attorney General also formed and internal affairs policy group that made up the law enforcement leaders to scrutinize and make effective changes to the older draft of the same in order to strengthen it. (Kenneth, 2006) This lead to the identification of priority items such as the enhancing of the internal prosecutors and monitoring the internal affairs cases. However, the Attorney General stated that the police needed to be trusted in order to perform their work efficiently and effectively. He asserted that the police often put their lives on the line to serve the public and therefore should be given the benefit over the doubts. The revised and updated versions of the policies had many mandates and requirements. These requirements included;-

  • All the police officers who were assigned to the internal affairs function or agencies had to complete training as required or mandated by the Division of criminal justice in New Jersey.
  • The other requirement was that each law enforcement agencies were required to track the number of complaints filed with the agencies and with the individual police officers in the agencies. The revision of these policies has made the tracking and monitoring of all complains a mandate or a requirement for each agency in New Jersey.
  • The other requirement is that every law enforcement agency must evaluate all complains they have received. This is in order to determine if the practices of misconduct are increasing in the law enforcement agencies.
  • These revised policies also require the county prosecutors to establish and maintain a schedule for the law enforcement agencies.
  • The law enforcement agencies are required to regularly make public all complains against the police officers and the results of the investigation. They are also required to make public the penalty the individual officers have been accorded.
  • The revised policies also require all complains made against the law enforcement officers not to be sustained. However, this should be done in writing with an explanation on why it was not sustained. The other requirement is that the entire internal affairs unit should investigate all the cases in the municipal and the Supreme Court.
  • All the law enforcement agencies must notify the prosecutor’s office of any reason to questions an officer’s credibility. This can be based upon a false report, a pending court complain, a pending court conviction or a judicial finding.

According to the revised citizens rights for internal affairs investigations, every law enforcement agency must accept the reports of the misconduct of officers at all times regardless of the day , the time or the situation surrounding the accusations. The revised citizen’s right for internal affairs also requires that every law enforcement agency must have a policy which is consistent with the Attorney generals internal affairs policies and procedures. The Attorney General’s internal affairs policies provide that all complains that involve the misconduct of the police are accepted and fully investigated. It is important to note that the police have a duty and a mandate to completely investigate all the cases brought forward to them. However, the citizens in New

Jersey who is filing for complains should do so in a courteous and professional manner. The police forces must also be courteous and professional while handling all the cases.

The revised citizen’s right for internal affairs investigations stipulates that the public has the right to make complains at any time of the day. It also stipulates that if the complainant cannot come to the police station reasons, the police should meet the complainant at his home, office or the area specified by the complainant. This simply means that the police must take the necessary steps to ensure that they receive complains and investigate the same. This Act also stipulates that a member of the public has a right to make complains anonymously. The identification of the complainant can be concealed if the complainant wants it to be concealed. (New Jersey. Division of Criminal Justice, 2000)

This simply means that the wishes of the complainant should be respected at all times. The Act also stipulates that juveniles also have a right to make complains against the misconduct of the police officers. These complaints can be made in the presence of their parents or in the absence of the same. This is to ensure that the citizen feel free to make complains at the police station without fear or duress.

The Internal Affairs Unit

The internal affairs unit is charged with many responsibilities. These responsibilities include the conducting of each and every internal investigation in regards to complains made against individual officers in the law enforcement agencies. The internal affairs unit ensures that the internal affairs and procedures are followed to the later. This unit also ensures that the internal policies and procedures are followed by the law enforcement agencies in each county. It is important to note that all the law enforcement agencies maintain separate internal affairs section. This is determined by the particular law enforcement agencies. Therefore all complains against the officers are made to the specific section of the agencies. For effective work performance in the internal affairs unit, the policies and procedures must be followed and adhered to. The internal affairs unit must also be dedicated and committed to carrying out their duties and responsibilities as stipulated in the revised policies and procedures. This is the only way that the internal affairs unit can be successful in their mandate.

Conclusion

This paper has studied in depth the internal affairs in policies and procedures in New Jersey. It has touched on the hiring requirements in the internal affairs unit. The paper has widely covered who the law enforcement agencies work under citing a few cases that involved internal affairs corrupt police. It has also touched on the information on why and how the internal affairs policies were recently updated. In conclusion these management policies can achieve good results other countries that are challenged in the internal affairs policies and procedures. 

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