A lawsuit was filed yesterday by the union which represents New Jersey State Police troopers to prevent the release of names of troopers who have committed serious, disciplinary violations. The lawsuit names New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and State Police Superintendent Col.Patrick Callahan as defendants. The lawsuit was filed by the State Troopers Fraternal Association in Mercer County Superior Court.
Meanwhile, six other police unions throughout New Jersey are also threatening to file a lawsuit to stop the release of officers’ names if they have committed violations of police protocol.
Thursday’s action comes a day after the union met with Attorney General Grewal regarding his June 15th order. That order instructed police departments, on an annual basis, to make public the names of officers who were fired, suspended or demoted due to improper actions on their part.
Grewal’s order does not specify a timeline, but State Police Superintendent Callahan has said that his department will release the names going back twenty years.
The STFA issued a statement following Thursday’s meeting with the Attorney General. They called the meeting “troubling,” going on to say, “Unfortunately, the firm deadline of July 15 for the publication of names coupled with the Attorney General’s outright denial to negotiate in good faith has left us with no other option than to file litigation and seek temporary restraints until our arguments are heard in court.”
The unions claim that by releasing officers’ names, their safety and privacy will be compromised, and their families could also become endangered. The release of the names, the lawsuit continues, “could also indirectly identify a victim of a crime or a victim of domestic violence.”
The Attorney General has stated that transparency will build trust. Lawmakers in New York recently repealed a law which had kept police officers’ disciplinary records sealed.