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We remain disappointed that this issue is being fought in the courts, especially since we have consistently said that we are willing to work with the Attorney General towards a fair resolution.

The ruling today that supports the Attorney General’s decree is yet another attack against the good men and women in law enforcement serving communities honorably throughout New Jersey.

The Attorney General should know that there is very little benefit to publicly shaming law enforcement officers past and present. While we do not oppose releasing information on officers who violate the public trust or the civil rights of our citizens, “major discipline” in this decree is often a compilation of minor events or departmental rule infractions that led to a suspension of more than five days. Unfortunately, this type of discipline varies wildly from Department to Department. This document dump therefore is misleading the public about officer behavior and we believe the only outcome will be to discredit all of law enforcement.

We will not protect bad actors who violate the public trust and the civil rights of our citizens, but the Attorney General’s decree being moved through the courts is sacrificing individual fairness for a political soundbite. We believe there are much better solutions to address officer misconduct and we find it to be stunning that the Attorney General refused our outreach to implement them and even more puzzling that he hasn’t given his own programs on training, officer intervention programs and resiliency a chance to prove they can work.

We are very disappointed the Attorney General has chosen to attack our integrity with his tweets.  He knows us better than that and we have always managed to work together productively to benefit our law enforcement community.  Unfortunately his decision to release major disciplinary records is an overreach that violates the rights of our active and retired members.  We don’t want bad cops in our midst.  But this directive does nothing to keep bad cops off the streets.  His order, done with zero prior discussion with New Jerseys law enforcement professionals, serves no public safety purpose. The order doesn’t provide any context to the discipline, it has no bearing on an officers ability to do his job honorably, it punishes those who already have been disciplined and it only serves as salacious material for the media and those who hate the police.  Instead of tweeting the AG can call us back to the table and rewrite this policy so it makes sense.  Otherwise he leaves us no choice but to ask the courts to correct this error. 

The State PBA, along with the STFA, State Police NCO Association and the FOP, along with PBA locals representing officers in the DCJ and JJC have filed emergent appeals with the Appellate Division to enjoin the Attorney General from implementing the two Directives ordering and authorizing the release of names of officers who received major discipline with summaries of the discipline and the sanctions imposed.  The Attorney General ordered the State Police, the DCJ and JJC to release the information retroactive to 2000 by July 15th.  We are asking the court to bar the Attorney General from ordering and authorizing the release of this information by July 15th or at any time after that pending the outcome of the appeal.

The State PBA has for decades fought to make New Jersey’s law enforcement officers the most professional and best trained in the nation.  While we too are angered when police officers abuse their power, we also believe that everyone deserves to be treated equally under the law.  Police officers especially.  Unfortunately, the Attorney General’s “Major Discipline” Directive does not treat every officer equally. 

While the term “major discipline” sounds like an officer has severely violated the public trust, in reality police officer discipline wildly differs from town to town.  Major discipline in some places could be handed down for a uniform violation.  The Attorney General’s Directive is far too broad and it treats all officers unequally.  While we have pledged to work with the Attorney General on enhancing our profession this new policy does not recognize those arbitrary differences.  The Policy is going to smear officers unfairly who have not violated the public trust and I would respectfully suggest it needs to go back to the drawing board.

I have directed Legal Counsel for the State PBA to review the policy to ensure that officer rights are protected.

View Official Statement Here