It is my honor to serve as Chief of Police in the Borough of Highland Park, a vibrant and diverse community with a rich history and an exciting future.
Through collaborative community policing efforts, and the pursuit of law violators, the Highland Park Police Department endeavors to keep our community safe and secure
Please take a few minutes to learn more about the Police Department’s divisions, programs, and services. You will find that our employees are a dedicated, well-trained and enthusiastic group of professionals who take pride in their work. They are ready to work with you to make your home and workplace secure and this community an even better place to live.
We welcome input and suggestions from the public regarding ways to improve our police services, crime prevention efforts, and community partnerships.
-Acting Chief Richard Abrams
The Highland Park Police Department has a 24 hour Communications Center staffed by trained Public Safety Dispatchers. All communications personnel are certified by the State of New Jersey to answer 911 calls for assistance and are also certified as Emergency Medical Dispatchers.
Public Safety Dispatchers additionally are responsible for dispatching the Highland Park First Aid Squad and Highland Park Fire Department.
The Highland Park Police Department would like to remind residents that 911 is only for emergency purposes.
Non emergency calls can be made to (732) 572-3800.
The primary function of the Detective Bureau is to conduct major and follow-up investigations on crimes which occur within the Borough of Highland Park. Other responsibilities include evidence collection and storage, crime scene processing, issuing firearms permits, investigating juvenile offender matters, and conducting narcotics investigations, sex crime investigations as well as burglary and robbery investigations. The Investigation Division is also responsible for registering Megan’s Law offenders.
Our Detectives work in conjunction with outside agencies such as the FBI, Secret Service, IRS, The New Jersey State Police, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department, local police agencies from NJ and other states, as well as NJ Department of Children and Families Services on various investigations.
As always, we encourage residents to assist us by reporting crimes and serving as extra eyes and ears to provide us with information to help solve crimes. We always welcome your support in this area.
If you have information concerning a possible crime or have been a victim of a crime, please contact police dispatch at (732)572-3800 or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.
Detective Sgt. Jason Culver
(732) 572-3800 ext. 4248
Detective Gaetano Palumbo, Jr.
(732) 572-3800 ext. 4264
Detective Sean McGraw
(732) 572-3800 ext. 4263
Barbara Fromhold (Detective Bureau Secretary)
(732) 572-3800 ext. 4220
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 Captain Jose Curbelo.
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.4213 or citizens may visit the Highland Park Police Department Headquarters located at the 222 South 5th Ave Highland Park NJ 08904.
Captain J. Curbelo Jcurbelo@hpboro.com
Lieutenant T. Hammill Thammill@hpboro.com
Lieutenant J. Sachau Jsachau@hpboro.com
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 4213
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.
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 4213 to speak to Capt. J. Curbelo 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.
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:
Remedial training (non-discipline)
Voluntary surrender of time off in lieu of other action
Reduction in rank
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.
The 4 A’s of Internal Affairs
1. ANYONE – Any individual must be permitted to file an Internal Affairs complaint. It can be a victim, a friend of the victim, a parent, a juvenile (with or without parents), undocumented person (we are not permitted to ask about immigration status) or it can be anonymous. ANYONE means ANYONE.
2. ANY WAY – An Internal Affairs complaint can be filed in ANY WAY. It could be filed by phone, by letter, written on a napkin, in person… Whatever is best for the person filing. We cannot make someone show up in person or swear the statement to initiate the complaint process.
3. ANY TIME – A complaint must be taken regardless of the hour or day of the week. At no time should a complaint be told to return later, even if the IA officer is unavailable. ANY law enforcement officer or civilian employee must take a complaint.
4. ANYTHING – As long as a complaint has sufficient factual information, the complaint must be investigated. It is predicated upon the victim’s view of the situation.
* * * LAW ENFORCEMENT MUST AVOID ANY LANGUAGE THAT IS DESIGNED TO DISSUADE SOMEBODY FROM FILING A COMPLAINT.
The Patrol Division is the most visible section of the police department, providing around the clock service to residents and visitors. Each law enforcement patrol officer works to protect life & property, uphold the civil rights of individuals, preserve public peace, provide citizen assistance,enforce criminal and motor vehicle laws, and respond to emergency situations. They are dedicated and committed professionals who place their lives and well being in jeopardy for the citizens of Highland Park on a daily basis
The men and women of the Patrol Division have a number of responsibilities, including: enforcing state and municipal laws and regulations designed to protect life and property, maintaining order, preventing crime, taking initial reports, interviewing witnesses and suspects, apprehending fugitives and criminals, directing traffic, and investigating accidents. Patrol officers maintain closer contact with the public than any other division within the police department.
The men and women of the Highland Park Police Department's Patrol Division take great pride in serving the citizens of Highland Park. Most often, the first person you see when you are in need of police assistance is the patrol officer.
Within a week's tour of duty, a single officer might be dispatched to investigate, or assist in, calls for: burglaries, robberies, assaults, suicidal persons, bar-room brawls, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, sexual assault, medical aid calls, noise complaints, prowlers, traffic accidents, drunk drivers, and intrusion alarms. This multi-faceted quilt constitutes the fabric of patrol work. It is important to realize that in a split second, the most inconsequential and routine activity can develop into a potentially hazardous situation. Patrol officers experience periods of little to no activity punctuated by moments of trepidation and danger.
The Patrol Division is commanded by:
Lieutenant Thomas Hammill
(732) 572-3800 Ext. 4235
The Highland Park Police Department Records Division is responsible for maintaining and disseminating all Police records in compliance with the Open Public Records Act.
- Investigative reports are not public information. Incident verifications for insurance purposes can be issued.
- Arrest information can be released under certain criteria.
- Most accident reports are public information.
- Defendants charged with a crime or offense may request Discovery through the Municipal Prosecutor under Court Rules.
222 South 5th Avenue
Highland Park, NJ 08904 732-572-3800 ext. 4211 732-819-4756 (fax)
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Friday :8:00am - 1:00pm
What government records are accessible to the public?
Generally, all government records are accessible to the public except those that fall under the exceptions to public access set forth in OPRA. These exceptions to public accessibility standards exist because of the legal principle that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding records in possession of a public agency; because of public safety concerns; and because of the need to insure unfettered debate, discussion, and consideration of issues inside public agencies.
- Autopsy reports
- Victim locations
- Criminal investigative records
- Victim records
- Credit card numbers
- Division of Child Protection and Permanency (former DYFS) information
- Social security numbers
- Electronic surveillance
- Unlisted telephone numbers
- Fingerprint cards
- Drivers’ license numbers
- Juvenile records*
- Domestic violence data*
- Safety of persons or public
*Domestic Violence Reports & Information and reports involving juveniles must be requested through the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Obtain Your Accident Report Online
The Highland Park Police Department is pleased to announce a new service to obtain motor vehicle accident reports online.
This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It allows individuals to download their report in a convenient, easy process. Simply click on the following link: Police Reports.
To search for an accident report, enter either the case number, date of accident, or last name of driver. The cost is $.05 per page and a $5.00 convenience fee.
Electronic distribution of accident reports enables the Highland Park Police Department Records Staff to work more efficiently and provide a higher level of customer service. This method creates ease of access for the community and insurance companies, saving time and effort when resolving accident issues.
Additional Information and Fees
Please allow at least five days from the time the police took the report and requesting a copy from the records Bureau.
Online reports are available any time of the day or night. Reports are also available in person at the Police Department during the above listed hours.
New Jersey Statute 39:4-36 states: Motorists in New Jersey must stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. Failure to observe the law may subject you to one or more of the following:
- 2 Points
- $200 Fine
- 15 Days Community Service
- Insurance Surcharges
The Highland Park Police Department enforces pedestrian crosswalk laws utilizing undercover officers.
For further information please visit New Jersey Safe Roads.
The Traffic Bureau is responsible for a wide variety of tasks, ranging from processing motor vehicle crash paperwork to supervising School Crossing Guards. The bureau additionally addresses any traffic concerns which residents may have, and coordinates selective enforcement details, such as DWI patrols and speed enforcement details, throughout the Borough of Highland Park.
Additional responsibilities of the Traffic Division include:
- Investigating serious or fatal motor vehicle crashes
- Planning safe routes for parades and neighborhood events
- Issuing temporary Handicapped parking permits
- Conducting funeral escorts
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the police officers in the Highland Park Police Department being trained in de-escalation techniques/using peaceful conflict resolution strategies?
All of our officers have completed multiple trainings in the last 14 months that include:
- Implicit Bias and De-escalation
- Police Professionalism
- Special Needs/Mental Health De-escalation
- Cultural Diversity
Other trainings attended by various Highland Park police officers include:
- Are the police officers in the Highland Park Police Department forbidden from using carotid restraints (chokeholds, strangleholds, etc)?
All officers are trained to follow the New Jersey Attorney General’s Guidelines.
Per the NJ Attorney General:
“New Jersey law enforcement officers are not permitted to perform chokeholds, carotid artery neck restraints, or similar tactics on any individual, except in the very limited situations when deadly force is necessary to address an imminent threat to life. Our state’s police academies have long instructed recruits on the dangers of “positional asphyxiation,” a form of asphyxia that prevents suspects from breathing adequately, including by kneeling or otherwise placing weight on a subject’s neck. Police Training Commission Defensive Tactics Manual § 5.3.2 (2009). Because these tactics create a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm, officers who cause a subject’s death or injury while performing them face potential criminal liability that prohibit chokeholds, carotid artery neck restraints, or hog-tying of subjects unless the officer is faced with a deadly force situation due to the imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to themselves or another party.”
- Are officers in the Highland Park Police Department forbidden from transporting civilians in dangerous positions, such as face down in a vehicle?
Subjects are not permitted to be transported face down in a vehicle for any reason.
- Are officers in the Highland Park Police Department required to intervene if they witness another officer using excessive force? Will officers be reprimanded if they fail to intervene?
In New Jersey, any officer that witnesses another officer using excessive force is required to intervene. Failing to do so is a criminal offence - Official Misconduct – which is a second degree crime in NJ.
- Is there a clear and enforced use-of-force policy that details what force is acceptable in a wide variety of civilian-police interactions?
The Highland Park Police Department has adopted the Attorney General’s Use of Force policy as its own. All officers are trained to use sound tactics and judgement when deciding what level of force is required. If an officer determines that the use of force is absolutely necessary, they are trained to use the minimum amount of force to accomplish their task. Options ranging from gestures and verbal commands, through hands on tactics, to the deployment of natural agents such as OC spray, the deployment of an impact tool such as a baton, or even lethal force.
All officers are also trained in Use of Force reporting as required by the NJ Attorney General’s Directives and Guidelines.
All use of force incidents are reviewed by the Highland Park Police Department administration.
- Are officers in the Highland Park Police Department forbidden from shooting at moving vehicles?
All police officers in NJ are prohibited from shooting at moving vehicles barring extreme circumstances where there is a risk of death or serious bodily injury posed to an officer or other person, and no other means exist to end the dangerous situation.
- Are officers in the Highland Park Police Department required to give a verbal warning to civilians before drawing their weapon or using force?
The issuance of a verbal warning is encouraged whenever possible prior to any use of force or enforcement action. However, each instance is handled on a case by case basis when measured against the level of the danger of imminent death or serious bodily injury faced by the officer, other involved parties, or bystanders.
- Are officers in the Highland Park Police Department required to report each time they threaten to or actually use force?
Whenever an officer uses physical, mechanical, or deadly force, each involved officer is required to complete a report and other forms as required by the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office.
- Are officers in the Highland Park Police Department thoroughly vetted to ensure that they do not have a history of abuse, racism, xenophobia, homophobia/ transphobia, or discrimination?
All Highland Park police officers undergo a comprehensive application process and background check prior to hiring. This process includes numerous references, interviews, and home visits, as well as professional psychological testing investigating the candidate for any of the traits mentioned above.
Additionally, Officers may be sent for additional psychological testing as part of an internal affairs investigation or as part of the resolution from a sustained complaint finding.
- Are officers in the Highland Park Police Department trained to perform and seek necessary medical action after using force?
Highland Park police officers are trained to assess and assist anyone with a limited degree of first-aid level medical attention at any time. Additionally they are required to obtain medical attention from EMTs and/or Paramedics whenever there is a report of pain or injury during any encounter they have with the public, including following the use of force by police officers.
- Is there an early warning system in place to identify and correct officers who use excessive force or have any other discipline issues?
The Highland Park Police Department uses a program called Guardian Tracker to maintain an Early Warning database as required by NJ AG Directive 2018-3. The Guardian Tracker is an important tool designed to detect patterns and trends in police conduct. This system monitors officers over a broad range of categories including Civil Actions taken against an officer, Internal Affairs or Citizen Complaints against the officer, and Excessive Force complaints.
- How many complaints does an officer have to receive before they are reprimanded? Before they are terminated?
There are no minimum numbers of complaints required before corrective action may be taken. If there is a sustained finding from even a single complaint, an officer may be counseled, retrained, or disciplined (up to and including termination).
We work closely with the Borough’s Human Resources Department to make final determinations on serious discipline (long-term suspensions) or termination as appropriate.
- What can I do as a concerned citizen?
- Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training
- Community Policing: Teens Together
- Critical Incident Stress Management
- Essential of Effective Supervision
- Interpersonal Communications
- Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention & De-escalation
- Mental Health First Aid for Veterans/First Responders
- National Organization of Black Law Enforcement - Policing in a New Era
- Verbal Judo – When Words Fail
These trainings are ongoing and officers will continue to attend them on an ongoing basis, as they are available.
Highland Park Police officers attended over 3400 hours of training in 2019.
Communicate with our Police Department. Attend meetings. Follow our Facebook page and website. Stay involved.
The position of Youth Officer within the Highland Park Police Department serves as a Police Liaison to the Highland Park School District who is direct contact with the School Administration and local children. The position was designed to address the numerous issues that face our children today. The Youth Officer, Brian O'mara visits all of the Borough Schools to keep in contact with the students. This allows for an open, honest and direct conversation between the Officer and students. Patrol Sergeant Brian O'mara serves as a positive role model for the children in the school district and provides a positive image of a Police Officer for the students.
He is tasked with investigating all juvenile related incidents and crimes which take place in Highland Park. This includes but not limited to crimes against children, crimes involving children, and missing children. He also coordinates and assists many youth oriented programs such as Every 15 minutes, Drinking and Driving awareness, Law Enforcement against drugs “L.E.A.D’, Junior Police Academy, Juvenile Justice Committee and many other programs.
For additional information, please visit Highland Park PD Official FB page.