Once accepted, your complaint form will be forwarded to the Office of Professional Standards for review and investigation. Once the investigation is complete, you will be advised of the outcome in writing by mail. Complaints from the public, whether substantiated or not, increase the awareness of the leadership of this agency to actual or potential problems, as well as the perceptions of the community. This feedback will ultimately assist in determining whether the mission statement and goals of this agency are being attained. All conclusions are then reported annually to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
No, but if a person deliberately makes a false complaint and statement against a member of the department, that person may be criminally prosecuted or held civilly liable.
N.J.S. 2C:28-3 Unsworn Falsification to Authorities states, ” A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he makes a written false statement which he does not believe to be true, on or pursuant to a form bearing notice, authorized by law, to the affect that false statements made therein are punishable.” Those who provide false information to members of the Office of Professional Standards will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Police Officers are protected by the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights and their labor contract. If the allegations are of a criminal nature, Police Officers have the same Constiutional rights as any other citizens.
Internal investigations remain confidential until they are concluded. By law, no person involved in the investigation, to include the complainant, witnesses, investigated members, or the Investigators may disclose any information regarding the investigation until it is concluded.
Yes, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office conducts a review of any complaint that alleges that a crime was committed. Any use of deadly force is automatically reviewed by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.
- Your Complaint will be sent to a superior officer, or a specially trained internal affairs investigator, who will conduct a thorough and objective investigation. If the complaint alleges minor violations of departmental policies or procedures or the complaint alleges acts of discourtesy, the complaint will be forwarded through the chain of command to the member’s immediate supervisor for an investigation.
- You might be asked to help in the investigation by giving a detailed statement about what happened or providing other important information.
- All complaints against law enforcement officers are thoroughly investigated. You will be advised in writing of the outcome.
- If our investigation shows that a crime might have been committed, the county prosecutor will be notified. You might be asked to testify in court.
- If our investigation results in an officer being charged with a violation of department rules or regulations, you might be asked to testify in a departmental hearing.
- If our investigation shows that the complaint is unfounded or that the officer acted properly, the matter will be closed.
- All disciplinary hearings shall be closed to the public unless the defendant officer requests an open hearing.
There is a prescribed hierarchy. The Office of Professional Standards reports directly to the Chief of Police. The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office is responsible for overseeing the reporting and disposition of all internal affairs complaints in the county, and they in turn report to the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.
The Office of Professional Standards has the responsibility to investigate all allegations of misconduct by members of the department, and to review and adjudicate all minor complaints which are handled by supervisors.
In addition, the Office of Professional Standards will review all firearms discharges by department personnel that are not related to training, all use of force incidents, all vehicular pursuits, and all collisions involving department vehicles.