the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Paterson NJ, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes today announced that the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office (PCPO) has assumed responsibility for the internal affairs functions of the Paterson Police Department (PPD).
As a result of today’s action, PCPO will have full oversight over PPD’s Internal Affairs Division, which is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct involving PPD officers. PCPO will ensure that current and future investigations are conducted thoroughly and fairly, and that officers who engage in misconduct are held accountable for their actions.
In addition, PCPO will work with the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) to conduct a historical review of PPD’s internal affairs investigations to determine whether any should be reopened and reinvestigated. At the conclusion of the review, PCPO’s Public Integrity Unit will make recommendations to improve the efficiency, quality, and efficacy of the Paterson Police Department’s Internal Affairs function.
“The people of Paterson deserve a police department worthy of their trust,” said Attorney General Grewal. “They deserve to know that allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. With today’s action, the Prosecutor’s Office will ensure that happens. I applaud Prosecutor Valdes for taking this important step.”
“The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to work with the Paterson Police Department to enhance greater delivery of services and greater accountability,” said Prosecutor Valdes. “We look forward to an expansive analysis of the needs of the department, from infrastructure to police practices to personnel. There is no better place to continue the important work of reform and restoration than the Internal Affairs Unit.”
On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced that it had charged Paterson Police Officers Kevin Patino and Kendry Tineo-Restituyo with Deprivation of Right Under Color of Law and Falsification of Record. These officers are the latest PPD officers to face criminal charges.
In response to the charges, PCPO will review all criminal matters in which Officers Patino and Tineo-Restituyo signed complaints, handled evidence, testified in a judicial proceeding, or provided material information leading to arrest, complaint, or indictment. To the extent that this review results in the discovery of exculpatory evidence, PCPO will make disclosures as appropriate to defendants and the court.
The federal charges against Officers Patino and Tineo-Restituyo are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Any member of the public who wishes to make a complaint to this office regarding police misconduct of any Passaic County agency may contact the Public Integrity Unit of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office or the tips line at 1-877-370-PCPO or email@example.com.
Attorney General Grewal created the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability in September 2018 to combat corruption and strengthen public confidence in government institutions. In December 2019, the Attorney General issued a directive codifying OPIA and making it a permanent part of the Attorney General’s Office. That directive established the OPIA Corruption Bureau as the lead office within the Department of Law & Public Safety for the investigation and prosecution of state criminal violations involving corruption and abuse of public trust.
OPIA has a toll-free Tipline 1-844-OPIA-TIPS for the public to report corruption. The AG’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption. Information is posted at: https://nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.