RED BANK: CHIEF OK WITH INTERNAL PROBES

Police Chief Steve McCarthy says his department reviews training on the handling of citizen complaints “almost on a yearly basis.” (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank police have been the subject of 11 allegations of excessive force in the last three years, according to information published Tuesday.

The figure, which includes 10 citizen complaints and one “agency” investigation initiated by department leadership, is included in a roundup of internal affairs reports submitted by local police departments statewide to the state Attorney General’s office. The data was released by New Jersey Public Radio and is searchable on the website of radio station WNYC.

The release was one of two reports on police self-investigation in New Jersey issued Tuesday. The other, by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, found “persistent problems” in the handling of internal affairs inquiries.

Red Bank is not identified as a town with problems in either report.

Here’s what NJPR found among towns on the Green regarding internal affairs investigations:

FAIR HAVEN:
No excessive force reports in 2010.

One excessive force complaint by a citizen in 2011, along with one “other criminal violation” alleged by a citizen. No information available for 2012.

LITTLE SILVER:
One excessive force complaint pending from a prior year in 2010; none in 2011.

No info available for 2012.

MIDDLETOWN:
Two cases of excessive force alleged in 2010, with one officer exonerated and one case administratively closed; three allegations of “other criminal violations,” with one determined to be unfounded and the other two unresolved at the end of that year.

No excessive force complaints in 2011, and one “other criminal violation” complaint.

For 2012, two citizen complaints of excessive force and one “other criminal violation.”

RED BANK:
Three excessive force complaints in 2010, with two exonerations and one case administratively closed.

Four citizen complaints of excessive force in 2011, and two of “other criminal violations.”

Four excessive force complaints in 2012: three by citizens and one agency complaint.

RUMSON:
No complaints of excessive force or “other criminal violations” in 2010 or 2011.

No data available for 2012.

SEA BRIGHT:
No excessive force or “other criminal violation” complaints in 2010, 2011 or 2012.

One citizen complaint of “other criminal violation” in 2012.

No data available for 2012.

SHREWSBURY:
No complaints of excessive force or “other criminal violations” in 2010 or 2011.

No data available for 2012.

Red Bank police Chief Steve McCarthy tells redbankgreen that the number of allegations of excessive force is fairly constant year-to-year, and all get thorough investigation.

“They’re all serious,” McCarthy said of citizen complaints, whether they allege excessive force or “demeanor,” such as rudeness by an officer.

The department, he said, adheres to guidelines issued by the Monmouth County Prosecutor and the state Attorney General on the handling of inquiries and actual complaints, which by law may be made anonymously and by telephone, unlike reports of other crimes. “And we review that training almost on a yearly basis,” he said.

The ACLU report, based on volunteer phone calls to nearly 500 departments, found numerous instances in which callers seeking information about how to file a complaint were given bad information.

“Agency” complaints, he said, are those initiated by his office, usually in cases where a plaintiff has filed a lawsuit against the department without first making a complaint to the department.

In 2012, McCarthy said, two civil suits were filed against the department arising from alleged conduct at the 2011 Kaboom fireworks show, prompting one such agency inquiry. Both suits are pending, he said.