Citizen Rights for Internal Affairs Investigations
- Every law enforcement agency within the State of New Jersey must accept reports of officer misconduct from any person at any time.
- Every law enforcement agency within the State of New Jersey must have a policy consistent with the Attorney General’s Internal Affairs Policy and Procedures, which provides that all citizen complaints involving police misconduct are readily accepted and fully and promptly investigated.
- A member of the public who feels that he/she has witnessed or been the victim of police misconduct has the right to file an internal-affairs complaint against the officer(s)-in-question.
- The police have a duty to fairly, objectively and thoroughly investigate all internal-affairs complaints.
- All persons filing internal-affairs complaints have the right to courteous, professional and fair treatment by the police.
- A member of the public has the right to lodge a complaint regardless of the hour or day of the week. If the complainant cannot come to police headquarters, the police must meet the complainant at his/her home, work or other mutually convenient location. In the event the complainant is unable for some reason to meet in person with the police, the internal affairs complaint can be made via telephone, U.S. Mail or through e-mail. Reasonable steps must be taken to accommodate a complainant who does not speak English.
- Complaints shall be accepted regardless of the age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or immigration status of the complaining party.
- A member of the public has the right to make his/her complaint anonymously. He/she does not have to be an American citizen to do so and cannot be required to produce identification or be accompanied by a citizen before a complaint will be accepted. The police cannot report a person to federal immigration officials in retaliation for the filing of an internal-affairs complaint.
- A juvenile has the right to file an internal-affairs complaint, with or without the presence of a parent or guardian.
- An officer/employee shall not attempt to resolve or discuss the merits of a report or complaint. Only a supervisor is authorized to informally resolve a minor complaint that is based upon a misunderstanding of the law or accepted law enforcement practices.
- A complainant has the right to be kept informed of the status of their complaint as well as the outcome of his/her complaint at the conclusion of the police investigation.
If you want to lodge an internal-affairs complaint, please call the municipal department that employs the officer(s)-in-question or call this Office at (973) 285-6200 and ask to speak to a member of this Office’s Professional Standards Unit.