The Union County Prosecutor’s Office implemented a new standard operating procedure on Monday, which requires the Prosecutor’s Office to publicly disclose the name and rank of any of its investigative employees that commit major disciplinary violations, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Tuesday. The procedure also requires the Prosecutor’s Office to retroactively disclose the names and ranks of investigative employees that were previously subjected to major discipline, going back at least ten years, and commits the Office to disclosing those names by September 1, 2020.
“We as a nation, as a county, as an Office, find ourselves in an unprecedented historical moment that calls upon us to question the long-held rules of the system we serve. Ever-vigilant of our duty to serve justice and the community, doing so now requires us to confront and own the imperfections of the criminal justice system, and even the atrocities that have been committed by fellow officers of the law and of the court who have held titles similar to those we hold now,” Prosecutor Ruotolo said. “We may finally see systemic societal changes we thought would never occur during the course of our careers. Each public leader and each public servant must decide whether they intend to hold true to old conventions that, as our Attorney General accurately put it, ‘protect the few to the detriment of the many,’ or whether they will take active steps to contribute to progress.”
The Office’s public disclosures will include the names and ranks of any of its investigative employees who have committed a transgression that resulted in a final disciplinary sanction of termination, reduction of rank or grade, and/or suspension of more than five days, in instances in which the underlying misconduct:
- Involved an act(s) of deception, theft, and/or dishonesty;
- Demonstrated a bias towards a particular race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual preference, or other group;
- Pertained to excessive use of force and/or criminal act(s) of violence;
- Touched upon an investigation and/or the prosecution of a crime (this would include, but is not limited to, mishandling of evidence, mishandling or falsification of official reports/records, improper conduct relevant to a confidential source/informant, or conduct negatively impacting truthful testimony); and/or
- Reflected an abuse of his/her/their position as a public employee and/or sworn member of law enforcement (this would include, but is not limited to, abuses of power and misuses of public property and/or paid-time).
These public disclosures will also feature a brief summary of the underlying transgression, a statement of the sanction imposed, and the year in which discipline was imposed.