SUMMIT, NJ – City of Summit Police Chief Andrew Bartolotti and Mayor Nora Radest both expressed support for a new directive from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal that requires hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state to reveal the names of cops who have been reprimanded or fired as “a step forward for transparency.”
Grewal’s office will require all state, county and local law enforcement agencies to release, at least on an annual basis, the identities of officers who have been terminated, demoted or suspended for more than five days.
“This is a statewide policy change that will make a meaningful difference toward greater transparency in policing," reports Summit Police Chief Andrew Bartolotti. “As with all directives from the New Jersey Attorney General, the Summit Police Department will follow it as mandated, and release all requested information to the Office of the Union County Prosecutor on an ongoing basis.”
Law enforcement agencies will be required to publish their annual list no later than Dec. 31, 2020.
Under prior guidelines, the identities of officers subject to discipline have generally not been disclosed to the public unless they have faced criminal charges. Local police departments often refused to divulge the officers’ identities by referring to it as a “personnel matter.”
The new directive also gives law enforcement agencies the option to identify officers who have committed serious disciplinary violations in the past. For instance, Grewal, in conjunction with Col. Pat Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced that they will publish a list of all state troopers who have committed major disciplinary violations over the past 20 years.
That list will be released publicly by July 15.
“For decades, New Jersey has not disclosed the identities of law enforcement officers who commit serious disciplinary violations,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Today, we end the practice of protecting the few to the detriment of the many. Today, we recommit ourselves to building a culture of transparency and accountability in law enforcement.”
Radest agreed, stating, “This is an important step for New Jersey in establishing a culture of transparency and accountability in law enforcement. I know that the Summit Police Department will fully comply with the policy change, and continue to conduct its interactions in our community with the utmost professionalism and respect.”