The Professional Standards Bureau (“PSB”) consists of two branches. The prosecution branch is lead by a Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor, along with two additional Assistant Prosecutors with one who directs Bias Crime investigations. The Corruption Unit has one separately assigned Assistant Prosecutor entirely dedicated to cases involving public employees and servants.The investigative branch is led by a Captain of Prosecutor’s Detectives who has overall command of the Bureau. A member of the clerical staff oversees all office operations and manages the records system and paralegal functions of the PSB, Corruption Unit and Bias Unit.
The units are multi-tasked. The Professional Standards Bureau has primary responsibility in the investigation and prosecution of all police criminal misconduct in Essex County. The Bureau also conducts activities necessary to improve the administration and delivery of Police Internal Affairs services on a countywide basis. Additionally, it serves as the internal affairs unit of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. The Corruption Unit (a component of the PSB) prosecutes and investigates criminal behavior regarding public servants and public employees.
The PSB, Corruption and Bias Crime Units are “vertical prosecution” units. One unit exclusively handles all law enforcement criminal cases from inception through trial and the other handles all cases regarding public servants and employees from inception through trial. When the PSB or Corruption Unit receives an allegation of criminal conduct committed by a sworn law enforcement officer or public servant, each must determine if a criminal prosecution is warranted. If criminal prosecution is warranted, the appropriate unit presents the case to a Grand Jury. If an indictment is returned, that unit is responsible for the case through a trial or plea agreement. Internal responsibilities for the PSB include, but are not limited to, random drug screening, investigation of violations of rules and regulations, risk analysis management, and integrity testing.
Additionally, PSB serves as the internal affairs unit of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the county’s Bias Crimes Unit. PSB also monitors police pursuits in Essex County and maintains standards for their use, so as to help limit their danger to the public and yet maintain their use in appropriate circumstances for criminal apprehension. The Bureau provides training at the Essex County Police Academy and also provides individualized training in Internal Affairs at municipal departments.
As part of his ongoing program to improve services to the citizens of Essex County, former Acting Prosecutor Donald C. Campolo made significant improvements in the area of internal affairs investigations. In 2000, he reorganized the chain of command within the Prosecutor’s Office to have the internal affairs unit, then named “Citizens Complaint Bureau,” report directly to him. This very positive change makes possible a more efficient disposition of cases. In May of 2001, the Citizens Complaint Bureau was renamed the “Professional Standards Bureau” and its role was expanded.
In 2014, the PSB received 420 new cases and completed 366 investigations. Of those 366 completed investigations, 64 had been received in the prior year. Of the 420 cases, 14 resulted in criminal charges. In addition, 215 cases were referred back to the originating agencies for civil or administrative action.
A list of Law Enforcement Determinations and Directives issued by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and the Essex County Prosecutor is available on this web site. PDF copies of these files can be opened from this list for viewing, printing or downloading.