MIDDLESEX COUNTY — The Middlesex County Association of Chiefs of Police voted unanimously today to seek a review by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office of all police use-of-force investigations conducted by internal affairs units in each of the county’s 25 municipal police departments, the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department, the Rutgers University Police Department in New Brunswick, the Middlesex County College Police Department and the Middlesex County Department of Adult Corrections.
The chiefs association, which consists of active and retired police chiefs and directors from various police departments in Middlesex County, filed the request at its monthly meeting today with Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan.
The request came during a discussion on how law enforcement in Middlesex County could promote and enhance public trust, which is one of the continuing goals of the chiefs association.
Kaplan said an on-going review of use-of-force investigations “will help encourage continued community support of law enforcement, which is a crucial element of keeping Middlesex County safe for its residents.”
“Gaining and maintaining the public’s confidence in law enforcement is essential if we expect residents to participate in our criminal justice system,” Kaplan added.
“With this mandate by the Middlesex County Association of Chiefs of Police, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office will now be notified within 24 hours of every internal affairs complaint alleging excessive force against any and every police officer, sheriff’s officer and corrections officer in Middlesex County,” Kaplan said.
“The results of each investigation and final recommendation by each department will be forwarded to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for review before an internal affairs report and any disciplinary recommendations can be issued,” Kaplan said.
Departmental investigations and subsequent decisions will be reviewed by the Internal Affairs Unit of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
The additional oversight by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office supplements requirements established by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.
South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka, a former president of the Middlesex County chiefs association and first vice-president of the New Jersey State Association of Police Chiefs, said the extra review “will be an important aspect in maintaining the professionalism that is expected of our police departments and our internal affairs units.”
“We support the prosecutor’s decision to review these cases and we are confident that this extra level of review will validate the efforts, findings and conclusions of internal affairs investigations,” Hayducka said.
“We hope this will instill greater public confidence and we hope it sends the message that we take the internal affairs investigatory process very seriously,” Hayducka said.
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