TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Peter J. Barnes establishing a two-year pilot program requiring the Attorney General to perform internal affairs functions for Edison Township Police Department cleared the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee today.
“This bill will allow an independent entity to conduct the internal affairs function at the Edison Police Department,” said Senator Barnes (D-Middlesex). “Outside intervention is necessary to ensure that the department is free of favoritism or political sway. This legislation will ensure that local officers are able to focus on their jobs of protecting the public safety of the community.”
S-395 would establish a two-year pilot program in which the Attorney General would perform internal affairs functions for Edison Township. Upon completion of the pilot program, the bill would require the Attorney General to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature concerning the effectiveness of the program. The report would have to include recommendations as to the potential expansion of the program to certain other municipal law enforcement agencies where the county prosecutor has intervened in the operation of the police department.
The Edison Police Department has come under fire recently for officer misconduct and a “botched” internal affairs investigation recently reported on by The Star-Ledger. The case involves an officer who reportedly coerced a young woman into modeling lingerie in a motel room while wearing his uniform and sidearm, and helped her flush her marijuana down the toilet. After the Edison Internal Affairs Unit missed a necessary deadline to bring administrative charges, a judge was forced to reinstate the officer, the paper reported. On multiple occasions, Edison police officers have been deemed not credible by the County Prosecutor.
The bill cleared the committee 4-0 and now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.