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Teaneck Police Earn 'Perfect Score' in ACLU Report

The ACLU says that many local police don't know the rules for residents to file complaints against officers.

The system for citizens to file complaints against police "is riddled with problems," according to a report on WNYC.org.

State law protects residents who make complaints over police behavior and allows for complaints to be made anonymously. New Jersey Public Radio and the ACLU found that many local police officers apparently do not know the rules for residents to file complaints, according to the report.

The ACLU called 497 police departments in New Jersey and asked officers questions about filing complaints. More than half the departments answered at least one question incorrectly, according to the report. 51 departments did not get a single question right. A list of departments whose officers answered everything correctly is available online here.

The Teaneck Police Department was one of 21 Bergen County departments to earn a "perfect score" for correctly answering the internal affairs questions, according to the ACLU's report. 

Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said his office would begin distributing copies of the rules to police departments around the state, according to the report.

A widget included in the WNYC.org report — and embedded above — allows readers to search for complaint sheets by police department. 

These same records are sent to Chiesa's office, but do not give enough information, according to the report. The numbers lack context — such as if numerous incidents involve the same officer — making it hard to notice patterns. 

Jon Shane, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that more detailed records are needed to improve practices, according to the report.

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Art Vatsky February 13, 2013 at 09:35 AM
It is good to know our Teaneck Police Dept, along with 20 other Bergen County depts (out of 70), did so well on this complaint issue. Congrats to Teaneck's Chief Wilson. I expect our TPD will soon do as well on the gun registration issue which has been mentioned at a recent Council meeting.
Diane Schwarz February 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM
I complement our police department! I heard the broadcast and many departments in NJ had no idea about citizens' rights to complain!

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