Can a police officer be disciplined where the department fails to implement or follow the Attorney General’s Internal Affairs Guidelines?

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The Law Enforcement Officers' Protection Act, effective January 9, 1997, mandated that every municipal law enforcement agency adopt and implement guidelines consistent with the Internal Affairs guidelines promulgated by the Division of Criminal Justice of the Attorney General’s office (commonly referred to as “the AG Guidelines”). That requirement is codified at NJSA 40A:14-181. An interesting question under the statute is what happens in the event a municipal police force tries to discipline an officer either without following, or without having adopted, the AG Guidelines? That question was answered, at least in part, by the unpublished Appellate Division decision of Neary v. Borough of Ridgefield, A-4266-03T2 (App. Div. 1/26/06).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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