supreme-court-sealThe U.S. Supreme Court sided with former Paterson police officer Jeffrey J. Heffernan and ruled that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was demoted after picking up a campaign sign for the mayor’s opponent.  Heffernan had been demoted after supporters of Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres saw him picking up a campaign sign for

As reported in the Burlington County Times, a controversial ordinance to revise the local code to create a Civilian Police Director’s position has been put on hold.  The Pemberton Township Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to table a vote on the ordinance and create a subcommittee to research and review the position of Civilian Police

As reported by nj.com, a consultant’s report on the advantages of sharing Bordentown Township and Bordentown City police services was met with skepticism from the public, though officials urged people to give the idea serious consideration. Despite being separate municipalities, the two Bordentowns could and should have a shared police force, according to

As reported in the Trenton Times on January 25, 2011, a judge has ordered Princeton Borough to reinstate a police officer who was suspended without pay in 2008 and to reimburse the officer for back pay and legal fees totaling an estimated $400,000.

Last week, Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg dismissed all charges against Sergeant Kenneth Riley related to allegations that he wrongfully accessed a police department video database of motor vehicle stops in January of 2008. Feinberg issued an order requiring the borough to reinstate Riley effective this week.

Riley allegedly reviewed a video of a police stop that involved a drive suspected of drunken driving. A sergeant and three patrolmen were involved in the stop, and two of the patrol officers were under Riley’s supervision. During the stop, the sergeant allowed the driver to urinate in bushes on private property. Riley learned about the incident and believed the sergeant had violated policy.

A borough officer for 17 years and sergeant since 2006, Riley was suspended with pay in March 2008 along with two other officers as part of an internal affairs investigation related to the access of the video database. He was indicted by a grand jury in September 2008 and the borough stopped paying him in late September of 2008.

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office contended that Riley showed the footage to other officers in order to hurt the other sergeant’s standing in the department. Prosecutors claimed he was untruthful during questioning about when and why he accessed the database.

But, in November of 2009, a judge threw out the six-count indictment because Riley was authorized to access the database. Despite this finding, the Borough continued to pursue the case internally, racking up thousands of dollars more it would owe in back pay and legal fees. An administrative hearing officer upheld Riley’s suspension, which Riley then appealed in Superior Court.

Riley, who earned a salary of $103,706 annually, is owed about 28 months of pay, or more than $241,000, plus money he spent on health insurance and legal fees, for a total estimated to be about $400,000. Including the borough’s fees for its own lawyer, staff, and an administrative hearing officer, the case could cost borough taxpayers about $500,000.

Councilman Roger Martindell, a vocal critic of the borough’s handling of disciplinary matters, called the pursuit of disciplinary action against Riley “a colossal waste for borough taxpayers.” “It appears that the borough has spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in pursuit of disciplinary action against Sgt. Riley without a firm foundation for doing so,” he said.


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On March 20, 2009, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey decided the case of Wade v. Colaner. In the case, plaintiff, a Tinton Falls police officer, was pulled over by New Jersey State Troopers for speeding. Plaintiff was subsequently charged with careless driving, obstruction of administration of law, and resisting arrest. On

On March 16, 2009, the Appellate Division decided Siaw v. Valenzuala. In the case, Defendant Diomedes Valenzuala, a police officer, appealed from the judgment of the trial court denying his claims against his former employer, the Township of Irvington, for indemnification pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-155 in connection with his defense of a lawsuit against