North Bergen PD requests public comment in ethical, professional evaluation

Agency is seeking to be reaccredited by NJ Association of Chiefs of Police

North Bergen residents can voice their opinion on the department's compliance with a set of ethical and professional standards.
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North Bergen residents can voice their opinion on the department's compliance with a set of ethical and professional standards.

A team of assessors from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) will arrive at the North Bergen Police Department on Monday, Aug. 26 to examine all aspects of the department’s policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services in order to renew the department’s accredited status with NJSACOP.

To become accredited, a law enforcement agency has to comply with 112 standards outlined by the association. The association claims that adherence to its standards ensure highest ethical and professional conduct in law enforcement at all levels.

The department first received accredited status in 2016, after a lengthy effort. Once a police department becomes accredited, they receive that award for a period of three years before they’re up for a reevaluation.

North Bergen and Secaucus are the only police departments in Hudson County to receive accreditation from the association. The standards for accreditation receive constant updates from NJSACOP, so this year’s evaluation will be more in depth.

At the administrative level, things like direction of personnel, fiscal control, internal affairs, discipline, organization, equipment, media relations, records, training, and weapons use are evaluated.

Personnel standards cover benefits, evaluation, promotions, recruitment plans, and background examinations.

Operations standards cover arrests, search and seizure, interviews, use of force, communications, response to emergencies, traffic safety enforcement, and critical incidents.

Investigative standards cover things like crime scene processing, evidence and property storage, juvenile matters, special investigations, and special operations.

There are also standards for how the department handles arrestees, detainees, and prisoners.

Some new standards that will be involved in this evaluation are employee-involved domestic violence, domestic violence investigations, elder abuse, drug screening, electronic social media, special event planning, and auspicious activity reporting.

Process involves public comment

In addition to on-site evaluations on Aug. 26, the assessors will also be seeking out comments from the public as part of their evaluation of the department.

The public is asked to comment specifically on the department’s ability to comply with NJSACOP standards of practice. A document providing extensive detail of the standards which need to be met will be available for residents to inspect at the North Bergen Police Department, 4233 Kennedy Blvd. The department asks that residents call the Chief’s Office at 201-392-2134 before coming in to inspect the document.

Anyone who wishes to submit written comments should contact the program manager Harry J. Delgado via email at hdelgado@njsacop.org. Written comments can be submitted by email to accreditation@northbergenpd.com, or they can be mailed directly to NJSACOP at 751 Route 73 North, Suite 12, Marlton, NJ 08503.

“Verification by the team that the North Bergen Police Department continues to meet the commission’s best practice standards is part of a voluntary process to renew its accredited status, a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence,” Chief Robert Dowd said.

“Accreditation results in greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure, stronger defense against civil lawsuits, increased community advocacy, and more confidence in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and respond to community needs.

For updates on this and more stories check hudsonreporter.com or follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mike Montemarano can be reached at mikem@hudsonreporter.com.