Brothers and Sisters,
(TRENTON JUNE 7, 2021) In June of 2020, the New Jersey Attorney General issued Directives 2020-05 and 2020-06, which mandate law enforcement agencies to publicize summaries of certain disciplinary actions taken against law enforcement officers, including the identity of the officer. The Directives also mandate the retroactive application of the publication requirements for State law enforcement agencies, and the optional application for county and local law enforcement agencies, going back as far as the year 2000.
After almost a year of litigation, where the FOP and other associations representing law enforcement challenged the legality and fairness of such disclosures, the New Jersey Supreme Court earlier today issued its Opinion. The Court upheld the Directives and authorized the publication of summaries of complaints against law enforcement officers that result in an officer’s termination, demotion, or suspension for more than five days, including the officer’s identity and the sanction imposed. The Court also authorized the retroactive application of the Directives, but suggested the establishment of a court process to review cases only where an officer may have been promised confidentiality as part of a disciplinary settlement.
The FOP continues to review the specifics of this lengthy and impactful decision and explore any possible next steps.
Robert W. Fox