New Jersey law enforcement agencies must police themselves much more vigorously under sweeping new rules announced by Attorney General Paula Dow, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. When the new policy on internal affairs investigations takes effect in July, police departments will have to beef up training, publicize summaries of the most serious complaints against their officers, and improve their record-keeping so that cases don't fall through the cracks.
The changes come after years of complaints that the state's guidelines were too lax and poorly enforced. At some departments, police misconduct cases that went unresolved at the end of the year did not resurface the next year in their annual reports. There were also signs that yearly reports were not being scrutinized by prosecutors before they were sent up the chain of command. The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed Dow's revisions, which it helped draft. “Really, it's huge because of the changes made and the scope of the changes,” said the ACLU’s Deborah Jacobs. “If this policy is successfully implemented it would put New Jersey as a leader of the pack.”