The Jersey City Policemen’s Benevolent Association is joining five state police unions calling for a lawsuit against the state attorney general over a directive that would require police discipline records to be released by July 15th.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Unfortunately, the firm deadline of July 15 for the publication of names coupled with the Attorney General’s outright denial to negotiate in good faith has left us with no other option than to file litigation and seek temporary restraints until our arguments are heard in court,” the six law enforcement unions said in a statement last night.
“State troopers and police officers throughout New Jersey serve with great honor and distinction and we are proud of the commitment our members make to the citizens of this great state. They deserve to be respected and treated with a fair and reasonable policies while helping our profession grow closer to the communities we care for, not further apart.”
The other unions joining the call for litigation are the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, the State Troopers Fraternal Association (STFA), the STFA NCO Association, the STFA Superior Officers Association, and the NJ Fraternal Order of Police.
On June 15th, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced a directive requiring the names of all officers suspended for more than five days, demoted, or fired in the past 20 years to be published by July 15th.
While the groups said they met with Grewal yesterday to express their concerns, which they felt was not negotiated in good faith, despite bringing up concerns including the physical safety and well being of police families, the ability to identify other involved parties, and the confidential nature of internal affairs investigations.
“We believe that transparency helps to build trust. We’re sorry to see that the police unions disagree,” AG’s office spokesman Leland Moore said in an email.
Earlier this week, the county prosecutor’s in Bergen and Union had previously called for their corresponding local law enforcement agencies to release police discipline records, while their counterparts in Essex and Hudson remained undecided.
“We are currently evaluating all options and speaking with community stakeholders and law enforcement to arrive at a balanced decision,” Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said on Wednesday.
However, that point now appears to be moot.
Even if the aforementioned mentioned police unions decide against filing litigation, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission issued a temporary injunction halting the release of police disciplinary records in Paterson after city officials committed to doing so.