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New Jersey attorney general orders law enforcement agencies to publish list of disciplined officers

Andrew Cuomo

Every state, county and local law enforcement agency in New Jersey will be required to publish a list of officers who were fired, demoted or suspended for more than five days due to a disciplinary violation, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Monday.

Law enforcement agencies will be required to publish the list of those who commit serious violations annually, with the first to come no later than December 31.

“Today, we end the practice of protecting the few to the detriment of the many. Today, we recommit ourselves to building a culture of transparency and accountability in law enforcement,” Grewal said in a statement.

Prior to this order, unless they have faced criminal charges, the disciplinary records of officers have generally not been revealed to the public, according to the attorney general’s office.

The directive comes as governments take on police reform following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

At a press conference, Gov. Phil Murphy said he was “proud” of the directive, calling it “a big step for transparency.”

“In the absence of information you assume the worst, with information you get a much clearer sense of the reality,” said Murphy.

As of now, state police publish summary information with regard to major discipline of troopers, said State Police Col. Pat Callahan, who also spoke at the press conference. Grewal’s directive will require including troopers’ names within the summary information.

“We talk about embracing the scrutiny, embracing transparency. It’s also important to note that the acts of a few should not tarnish the entire profession across the state or nation, and we’ll ultimately let the public decide for themselves on the nature of these allegations,” said Callahan.

State police will publicize all troopers who have faced disciplinary actions over the past two decades by July 15, Murphy said, adding it is around 400 cases.

In New Jersey, the attorney general has broad authority to issue policy documents known as “law enforcement directives,” which are binding on all law enforcement agencies.

Earlier this month, Grewal announced his plan to revise the use of force policy for the first time in two decades, which governs when the state’s 36,000 law enforcement officers may or may not use force against civilians.

Grewal said his office has launched an online portal for public comments and will be organizing community listening sessions in all 21 counties.

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