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Posted on: June 19, 2020

AG Issues Directive to Increase Transparency in Police Discipline

On Monday, State Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal issued Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2020-5 (AG Directive 2020-5) which makes changes to how law enforcement agencies throughout the state report disciplinary complaints against the agency’s officers. Prior to the issuance of AG Directive 2020-5, law enforcement agencies, including all municipal police forces, were required under previous Directives, to submit to the county prosecutor and to publish at least annually, public reports summarizing the types of complaints received against law enforcement officers, and the disposition of those complaints. However, law enforcement agencies were prohibited from publishing the names of complainants and subject officers, in these reports.

The Directive issued Monday removes this prohibition when complaints result in “major discipline” and now requires the public report to include the identity of each officer subject to final discipline, a brief summary of their transgressions, and a statement of the sanctions imposed. For the purposes of AG Directive 2020-5, major discipline is defined as a complaint that has resulted in a law enforcement officer’s termination, reduction in rank or grade, and/or suspension of more than five days.

This Directive is prospective and becomes effective on August 31, 2020. Each law enforcement agency is required to publish its first report in compliance with AG Directive 2020-5 by December 31, 2020, with the first report covering disciplinary actions finalized during, at a minimum, the preceding twelve months. 

You should review this Directive with your chief of police and/or public safety director for more information.

Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, fmarshall@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x137.


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