Internal Affairs Policies & Procedures
Ensuring accountability in New Jersey’s police departments
In New Jersey, every state, county, and local law enforcement agency is required to establish a process for disciplining officers who commit misconduct or otherwise violate the agency’s rules. Generally speaking, this disciplinary process is handled by the agency’s “internal affairs” (IA) unit, which operates outside the normal chain of command and is responsible for investigating misconduct and recommending discipline to the agency’s leaders.
In 1991, the Attorney General issued Internal Affairs Policies & Procedures (IAPP), which established statewide standards for the operations of IA units in New Jersey. Five years later, in 1996, the Legislature went a step further, requiring that each law enforcement agency in New Jersey adopt its own policies consistent with IAPP. The document has been updated several times since then, including a significant revision in December 2019 as part of Attorney General Grewal’s Excellence in Policing Initiative. Several additional changes were made in the summer of 2020.
The current version of IAPP, which went into effect on August 31, 2020, is known as the “August 2020 IAPP” and includes an appendix of thirteen sample forms and documents. The first two of these sample forms are intended for public use: a “civilian complaint information sheet,” which explains how to file an IA complaint (Appendix A), and a standardized “internal affairs report form” for civilians seeking to file a complaint (Appendix B). Both of these documents have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Haitian, Hindi, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. The remaining appendices (Appendix C to Appendix M) are intended for internal use by law enforcement.