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Open Government Advocacy Project:
Help wanted: NJLP Police Accountability Project

Issue Detail:

Chairman Jay Edgar recently created a "Police Accountability Project" within the New Jersey Libertarian Party. The project, which I'm current chairing, searches court cases of police misconduct and then files formal Internal Affairs (IA) complaints against the involved officers. For example, I located an April 27, 2011 case in which the Appellate Division held that a State Trooper improperly conducted a warrantless search of an automobile that he stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike. That court decision is on-line here: This case prompted me to file an IA complaint against the Trooper, which is on-line here: One of the Project's objects is to see how responsive various police departments are to these types of complaints. It's possible, perhaps likely, that some police agencies won't even acknowledge receipt of the complaints. Another goal is to see if our complaints lead to any changes to police policy. This project is in its infancy and, with proper help and coordination, could grow into something substantial. I'm stretched pretty thin due to my work on the Open Government Advocacy and Preempted Ordinance Repeal Projects, so I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to devote to it. If anyone wishes to plug in and help, please e-mail policeaccountability@njlp.org which currently goes to Jay and me. While I don't want to limit the directions that the Project may take, here are some of my ideas on how a person could help: 1. Create and maintain a web site that tracks each IA complaint the Project files and periodically checks back for a response from the police agency. 2. Select police agencies around the state and, using OPRA requests, audit how well they are abiding by the New Jersey Attorney General's Internal Affairs Standard Operating Procedures and reporting the results of those audits on our web site. 3. Speak to citizen groups to help them better understand the IA process. I hope this sparks some interest and look forward to hearing from you. John Paff Somerset, New Jersey




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