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Office of Professional Standards

Office of Professional Standards - Internal Affairs Unit

The Office of Professional Standards of the Highland Park Police Department is responsible for ensuring that members of the department meet the highest standards of professional conduct and are responsive to the citizens they serve. The Office of Professional Standards is also responsible for the thorough investigation of all complaints of misconduct against members of the Highland Park Police Department. The Office of Professional Standards is run by Lieutenant Thomas Hammill.

The Office of Professional Standards reports directly to the Chief of Police. The Office is charged with administering the investigative and disciplinary processes for the Highland Park Police Department. The primary mission of the Office of Professional Standards is to assure that the members of the Highland Park Police Department meet the highest standards of integrity and ethical performance.

The Highland Park Police Department is dedicated to providing the best possible police service to the citizens it serves. Officers are carefully selected and receive the best possible training to help them perform their duties in a fair, honest, impartial, and professional manner. Your assistance helps the Highland Park Police Department maintain the integrity of the organization. If you feel strongly about the conduct of an officer, positively or negatively, please let us know.

The Office of Professional Standards can be reached by telephone at: (732) 572-3800, ext.4235 or citizens may visit the Highland Park Police Department Headquarters located at the 222 South 5th Ave Highland Park NJ 08904.

How to commend an officer

Recognition for a job well done is important.

Officers and civilian employees of the Highland Park Police Department are no exception.

If an officer or other member of the Highland Park Police Department renders a service that you feel is worthy of a commendation, we would like to hear about it.

To commend a Highland Park Police Department employee you may:

  • Telephone the Office of Professional Standards by calling:
    (732) 572-3800 Ext 4235
  • Telephone the member's supervisor directly.
  • Write to the Office of Professional Standards Supervisor at:
    Highland Park Police Department 222 South 5th Ave Highland Park NJ 08904
        Please include as much of the following information as you can remember:
        Date, time, and location of the incident
        Name(s) and badge number(s) of the member(s) involved.
        Circumstances of the incident.

The employee and his/her supervisor will be notified of the commendation. A copy will also be included in the employee’s personnel file.

How to file a complaint

Providing police services can often be a very difficult and complex job.

The Highland Park Police Department recognizes that mistakes may be made and the actions of our officers may fall short of expectations. The Highland Park Police Department has established rules and regulations and standard operating procedures governing the professional and personal conduct of employees and acceptable work performance standards. These guidelines are designed to protect the well-being and the rights of all citizens and employees. The Office of Professional Standards will thoroughly investigate all reports of misconduct by officers regardless of the source. Anyone who files a complaint against an officer will be treated with courtesy and respect.

Please refer to the brochure at the bottom of this page entitled Complaint Procedures Brochure for more information.

To make a complaint you may:

Citizens are encouraged to respond to police headquarters and speak with a supervisor about filing their complaint.

The complaint will be accepted regardless of the hour or day of the week.

Call the Office of Professional Standards at 732-572-3800 Ext 4235 to speak to Lt. Hammill Monday through Friday, between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. After 4:00 pm leave a message. You will receive a return call during business hours from our office.

Complaints may be made anonymously.

Make your complaint in person at police headquarters at any time or write to the Commanding Officer of the Office of Professional Standards Office located at

Highland Park Police Department
Office of Professional Standards/ Internal Affairs Bureau
222  South 5th Ave Highland Park NJ 08904

Please include as much of the following information as you can remember:

  • Date, time, and location of the incident
  • Name(s) and badge number(s) of the member(s) involved
  • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witnesses
  • Circumstances of the incident

If the citizen is uncomfortable reporting the complaint to the Highland Park Police Department, they may report their complaint to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office; Office of Professional Standards. The Prosecutor's Office can be reached at 732-745-3300.

Corrective action

If the investigation indicates the officer has committed a violation, corrective action commensurate with the severity of the violation will be taken. Mitigating circumstances may be considered by the Chief of Police in determining appropriate penalties. Action taken may involve:

  • Counseling (non-discipline)
  • Remedial training (non-discipline)
  • Oral reprimand
  • Voluntary surrender of time off in lieu of other action
  • Written reprimand
  • Suspension
  • Reduction in rank
  • Termination

After an investigation is completed, less severe discipline is administered directly by the Chief of Police. More serious discipline will be imposed if the officer is found guilty at a disciplinary hearing. In the event the member is subject to a disciplinary hearing, the complainant and witnesses may be called to testify. Complainants will be notified in writing by the Office of Professional Standards when the complaint has been resolved, however the exact discipline imposed is a confidential personnel matter and will not be revealed to the complainant. Members of the department can appeal the Chief of Police’s decision. The Highland Park Police Department has established procedures for members to follow in filing their appeals, just as it has established procedures to fairly and honestly investigate citizens' complaints.


Complaint Form

 
HIGHLAND PARK, NJ
221 S. Fifth Avenue
Highland Park, NJ 08904
Ph: (732) 572-3400