Newark police director clarifies policy to report crimes to court not police

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on October 31, 2014

NEWARK — Newark police director Eugene Venable this evening clarified a policy which encourages officers to direct the victims of some minor crimes to file complaints with the city's municipal court as opposed to filing a police report.

Venable emphasized in a statement that the city's police department is still filing police reports for of all kinds of incidents.

The police director's remarks follow a story by NJ Advance Media about a memo issued by police chief Anthony Campos directing officers to refer victims complaining about crimes such as simple assault, criminal mischief and harassment to file complaints in municipal court rather than compile police incident reports.

"The purpose of this internal memo issued by the Police Chief was an operational memo with the purpose of clarifying circumstances in which residents may file complaints for certain incidents directly to the Municipal Court without having to file a police report," Venable said.

Venable added that filing complaints in municipal court was not a policy change, and only the police director is allowed to set departmental policy.

"It in no way replaces the traditional police reporting policy. For clarity purposes the department is updating the memo to ensure that there is no confusion about officers’ duties and responsibilities,” Venable said.

Venable's remarks echo similar comments made by the police department earlier this morning saying, the city is not curtailing victim's desires to file police reports but affording them the opportunity "to fast track their complaints by filing themselves.”

Newark municipal court director Eunice Samuels-Lewis said today her staff has anticipated the change for more than a year, and has reorganized her staff to process any influx of complaints.

But the policy was criticized by several city councilman. North ward councilman Anibal Ramos said directing citizens to file a complaint in municipal court might burden the victims of crimes who may have to go to court multiple times to see that an issue is resolved.

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment