Morris Plains Police Department Internal Affairs

The members of the Morris Plains Police Department are committed to providing law enforcement services that are fair, effective, and impartially applied. It is in the best interest of everyone that a complaint about the performance of an individual employee or the agency in general be resolved fairly and promptly. The Morris Plains Police Department has formal procedures for investigating these complaints. These procedures ensure fairness while also protecting the rights of both citizens and employees.  Your complaint will be sent to either a superior or specially trained internal affairs officer who will conduct a thorough and objective investigation.  You will be asked to help in the investigation by giving a detailed statement about what happened or by providing other important information.  All complaints against employees or the agency in general are thoroughly investigated. You will be advised in writing of the outcome of the investigation.  If our investigation shows that a crime might have been committed, the county prosecutor will be notified. You might be asked to testify in court.  If our investigation results in an employee being charged with a violation of department rules, you might be asked to testify in a departmental hearing.  If our investigation shows that the complaint is unfounded or that the employee acted properly, the matter will be closed.  All disciplinary hearings shall be closed to the public, unless the defendant officer requests an open hearing. It is unlawful to provide information in a matter that you do not believe to be true. You may elect to telephone the Internal Affairs Officer, Lt. Michael Rolph at (973) 538-2284 ext. 107 with any additional information or questions concerning the case.

"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 those from anonymous sources, juveniles and persons under arrest or in police custody. Internal Affairs personnel should accept complaints if available. If Internal Affairs is not available, supervisory personnel should accept reports of officer misconduct, and if no supervisory personnel are available, complaints should be accepted by any police officer. At no time should a complainant be told to return to file his report.

Citizens should be encouraged to submit their complaints in person as soon after the incident as possible. If the complainant cannot file the report in person, a department representative should visit the individual at his or her home, place of business or other location in order to complete the report.

The Internal Affairs officer, supervisor or other officer receiving the complaint will explain the department's disciplinary procedures to the person making the complaint. He should advise the complainant that they will be kept informed of the status of the complaint and its ultimate disposition. To best accomplish this, the department shall prepare a fact sheet for distribution to people who make complaints. This fact sheet should include information on the department's disciplinary process and what role the complainant can expect to play. In addition, the fact sheet shall advise the complainant that it is a criminal offense to provide statements which they do not believe to be true.

The supervisor or other officer receiving the complaint shall complete the appropriate internal affairs report form. The report form should have adequate instructions for proper completion. The officer accepting the report should then have the complainant sign the completed form.

If the complaint is anonymous, the officer accepting the complaint should complete as much of the internal affairs report form as he can given the information he has received.

Complaints of differential treatment, demeanor and minor rule infractions should be forwarded to the supervisor or commander of the accused officer. All other complaints should be retained by or forwarded to the Internal Affairs Unit.

Complaints might also be received from other law enforcement agencies, such as neighboring municipal police agencies, the county prosecutor or the F.B.I. In such cases, the complaint should be forwarded to Internal Affairs for immediate handling.

If a complainant comes to a municipal police agency to make a complaint about another police agency, he should be referred to that agency. However, if the complainant expresses fear or concerns about making the complaint directly, he should be referred to the county prosecutor.

All complaints should be investigated, so long as the complaint contains sufficient factual information to warrant an investigation. In cases where the identity of the officer is unknown, the Internal Affairs investigator should use all available means to determine proper identification. Each complaint should be investigated to its logical conclusion.

Some very minor complaints are merely a misunderstanding on the part of the citizen. If the supervisor accepting the complaint can resolve it to the complainant's satisfaction through an explanation of department rules or procedures, the complaint process will be terminated. In these cases, the resolution shall be noted on the report form which should then be signed by the complainant and the officer involved, and filed with Internal Affairs", (New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice)