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Assembly Bill 5864 - Body Worn Cameras

A Bill was introduced yesterday to permit officers to review body worn cameras.
 
Legislation was introduced yesterday, Assembly Bill 5864, that will eliminate the prohibition on officers being able to review their body worn cameras (BWC) while writing their initial reports. We look forward to the Senate Bill very soon.
 
The prohibition on reviewing BWC images for report writing has been a concern for the State PBA since it became a part of Attorney General policy a few years ago.  And during the consideration of the bill to mandate BWC use by police the State PBA publicly lobbied to permit officers to review camera footage.  Unfortunately, the current restriction on reviewing camera footage presents significant concerns for law enforcement officers in writing clear and detailed reports.
 
Fortunately, the bill has been fast trackedand is already scheduled for a vote in the Assembly Homeland Security Committee on June 14th.  The State PBA will strongly support it.
 
We commend Assemblywoman Shanique Speight (D-Newark), a State PBA member and Essex County Sheriff’s Officer, who recognized the serious implications of preventing an officer from reviewing their BWC for report writing and requested the bill be drafted soon after the BWC mandate took effect.  State PBA President Colligan, Executive Vice President Kovar and Director of Government Affairs Nixon met with the Assemblywoman at the State PBA office to discuss the bill and other pressing matters facing law enforcement.  The State PBA is grateful for her leadership on this issue and for being a thoughtful voice for law enforcement as a member of the Legislature. 

State PBA President Statement on Supreme Court Ruling on AG Discipline Releases

New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan today released the following statement based on the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s decision on Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s directives to release internal affairs and personnel records going back decades. As the chief law enforcement officer in our state, the Attorney General’s directives overturn long-standing protections afforded to law enforcement by statute and regulation.

“The State Supreme Court’s decision is both frustrating and disappointing. The NJSPBA does not and will not protect bad officers who violate the public trust and, yet, the 99.9% of good men and women serving in law enforcement continue to find themselves under attack. We are pleased that the court recognized that many officers only resolved disciplinary actions because they received specific promises of confidentiality which they relied upon, and that they are entitled to a hearing before release of any information regarding events that may have occurred decades ago.  We continue to be disappointed in the Attorney General's ongoing refusal to meet with us to discuss fairness within police reform as well as his continuing attacks on law enforcement.”

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Chapter 157 Filing Expiration Notice

Attention all members, the following letter is from the Chair of the PFRSNJ Board of Trustees and was just sent to the Certifying Officers of all PFRS locations. Please take notice and also inform your fellow members who may be affected by 9-11 health issues of this information. The deadline for filing is July 8, 2021.

View Official Notice Here

ELIGIBILITY REGISTRATION FORM

UPDATED INFORMATION ON 20 & OUT RETIREMENT

This letter from the Chair of the PFRSNJ Board of Trustees is being sent this morning to the Certifying Officers of all PFRS locations. This letter will answer many of the questions that have been asked.

View Additional Information Here

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NJ Cops Magazine

May 2021 Back Issues
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President's Message

Patrick Colligan, NJSPBA President Patrick Colligan, President

If they can do it to us…

This year has certainly been one for the ages. A global pandemic, hurricanes, wildfires, the most divisive presidential election in our history, the murder of George Floyd, an asteroid that might hit be-fore election day and – because we haven’t had quite enough yet – murder hornets. I can hardly wait for November and December!

Needless to say, a few of these issues have had a profound effect on us in New Jersey. Twelve New Jersey officers lost their lives to COVID-19. Nine of them were PBA members. Some 120 officers throughout the country succumbed to the horrible disease, and tens of thousands of our brother and sister officers were profoundly affected. Many will never return to work.

As bad as we thought COVID was, May 25 was a day that changed policing forever. Some changes certainly will be for the better. Some will be downright dangerous, not only for the women and men who choose to do this job, but also for the citizens we’ve sworn to protect and serve.

So let’s fast forward to the federal Justice in Policing Act. In the rush to “do some-thing,” Congress drafted a really bad bill. The group that enjoys absolute immunity wants to take away our qualified immunity. I hope the “qualified” sufficiently describes our immunity. Yes, you are correct. We have to qualify for the immunity from lawsuits filed for damages resulting our mistakes. If you chose to act in a way that shocks the conscience or is so outside the norms of normal police work, you’re on your own. (And frankly, you should be). We make mistakes, no doubt about it. We aren’t Walmart greeters. We are in a dangerous and often ugly business. But many forget about that.

Some members of our New Jersey congressional delegation chose to sign onto that bill. One of them was even a co-sponsor. We’ve enjoyed some very close relationships and friendships with our delegation over the years. I hope I don’t have to tell you we were on the phone immediately after that bill came up. Marc, Rob and I were on some very long calls telling representatives exactly what that would do to our members and the very future of recruiting qualified candidates. A severe recruiting problem already exists.

There was no ambiguity in our conversations whatsoever. Removing qualified immunity was an absolute line in the sand. Of course, they were free to support the bill, but not without consequences.

I guess more than one of these elected officials thought we were bluffing. As they know by now, we weren’t. We have either walked away from our support or backed another congressional candidate. Yes, not without repercussions, but I live by a pretty simple rule in my life: Win, lose or draw, the day I can’t look myself in the mirror, I’ll walk away from this position.

Their unanimous answer of “it’s not passing anyway” was a shallow, feeble excuse. Depending on this election, that bill will probably be back and the “it’s not passing anyway” excuse won’t be such a shallow answer anymore.

So the delegation says, “If they do it to us, they can do it to anybody.” Not so quick folks. Maybe you weren’t listening to us on those calls. It was a line in the sand and unlike some of you, I mean what I say. The difference is, I can still proudly look at myself in a mirror today.

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