North Hanover Township
Burlington County, NJ


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Professional Standards

What is the Professional Standards Unit? 

While seeking to ensure the Mission Statement and Vision of the Chief of Police, the Professional Standards format was developed to enhance the traditional “Internal Affairs” section of the Police Department.

The Professional Standards Unit is comprised of a Supervisor or IA Officer, a patrol supervisor, a detective and a patrol officer. Each of these officers represents a particular discipline within the Police Department, and must complete specialized training to be assigned to the Unit.

The Professional Standards Unit is tasked with developing quality assurance monitoring of police department members, exploring new programs for the police department, training and reviewing policy initiatives, while ensuring the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights and the employee’s rights under their labor contract.

They are responsible for receiving, processing, supervising, and conducting investigations that involve allegations of criminal conduct and acts of misconduct against members of the Police Department.

The Professional Standards Unit ensures that all allegations made against members of the police department are thoroughly, objectively and impartially investigated to a logical conclusion.

The Internal Affairs Officer maintains a comprehensive index of all complaints received against all members, as the supervisor of the Unit. 

What does the Internal Affairs Officer do? 

The Internal Affairs Officer is responsible for investigating:

  1. Allegations of criminal conduct made against any member of the department.
  2. Allegations of misconduct made against any member of the department.
  3. Allegations of unnecessary or excessive use of force used by any member of the department in the performance of their duties.
  4. Monitoring and evaluating of members of the department for quality assurance and future training considerations.
  5. Create and maintain all documents and records necessary and appropriate for such use and future reference.

 

To whom does the Internal Affairs Officer report? 

The Internal Affairs Officer reports directly to the Chief of Police.

 

How does someone file a complaint? 

All complaints of officer misconduct shall be accepted from all persons who wish to file a complaint, regardless of the hour or day of the week. This includes reports from anonymous sources, juveniles and persons under arrest or in custody, either in person, or with the assistance of another.

Complaints may be made in person, by telephone, by letter, or by e-mail. If professional standards personnel are not available to accept the complaint, supervisory personnel will accept the complaint.  If no supervisory personnel are available, complaints will be accepted by any law enforcement officer. At no time will a complainant be told to return at a later time to file a report.

Citizens are encouraged to submit their complaints as soon after the incident as possible.  Under no circumstances shall it be necessary for a citizen to make a sworn statement to initiate the internal affairs process.

  

How are complaints handled? 

Complaints of minor violations are forwarded to the employee’s supervisor to investigate.  Once the investigation is complete, the Internal Affairs Officer reviews it to determine the appropriate disposition.

If the complaint is of a serious nature, the Internal Affairs Officer will investigate the complaint directly.  If the complaint alleges a criminal violation, the Internal Affairs Officer will coordinate the investigation with the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

All complaints are thoroughly investigated until a logical conclusion is reached based upon the available facts.

 

What rights do employees have during an investigation? 

Police officers are protected by the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights as well as, their labor contract.

Internal investigations remain confidential until they are completed.  No one involved in the investigation may disclose any information regarding the specifics of an ongoing investigation.

 

Is there any risk in making a complaint against an employee? 

No.  But, if a person deliberately makes a false complaint and statement against an employee, that person may be criminally prosecuted and held civilly liable. 

 

What happens when the investigation is complete? 

The complainant and employee will be notified of the results of the investigation.

  

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