Amendment To AG Internal Affairs Policy: Part 1

by | Dec 28, 2017 | Blog, Criminal Law, New Jersey

On November 15, 2017, the New Jersey Attorney General amended Law Enforcement Directive No. 2017-2 regarding “Internal Affairs Policy and Procedures”. The amendment now requires mandatory notification of the disposition of complaints to internal affairs complainants.

The AG’s memo reads:

TO: Director, Division of Criminal Justice Superintendent, New Jersey State Police All County Prosecutors All County Sheriffs All Police Chiefs All Law Enforcement Chief Executives

FROM: Christopher S. Porrino, Attorney General

In July 2014, the Attorney General amended the “Internal Affairs Policy and Procedures,” originally issued in August 1991 (hereinafter, the “Policy”). The Policy previously was amended in September 2011, November 2000, and November 1992. In New Jersey, county and state municipal law enforcement agencies conduct internal affairs investigations under the general supervision of the Attorney General, the State’s chief law enforcement officer. See N.J.S.A. 52:17B-98.

All law enforcement agencies, including county and municipal forces, have a duty to cooperate with the Attorney General to improve the administration of the criminal justice system, including the efficient delivery of police services. For county and municipal law enforcement agencies, cooperation in internal affairs matters begins with strict adherence to the Attorney General’s basic policy requirements. In a continued effort to promote transparency, bolster credibility, and improve relationships between law enforcement and the community, the Policy hereby is revised to mandate that an internal affairs investigator must advise the complainant (if the identity of the complainant is known) of the status of his or her complaint, if requested, and, upon completion of the investigation, of the ultimate disposition of the complaint.

Previously, the decision to provide notice to the complainant was at the discretion of the county or municipal internal affairs officer. Now, under the revision set forth herein, provision of such notice is mandatory.

It would be interesting to know if a county or municipal internal affairs officer ever issued a discretionary notice to a complainant. Chances are that such notice never occurred, at least in the absence of follow up inquiries from the complainant.