Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) today joined forces in calling for reforms to the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department in light of a scathing report issued by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office following an eight month investigation.
Sen. Declan O’Scanlon and Asm. Gordon Johnson call for reforms to the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Department in light of a scathing report issued by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. (SenateNJ.com)
The 28 member department patrols 11 miles of the poorly maintained highway along the Palisades between the George Washington Bridge and the New York/New Jersey border in northern Bergen County.
The report details numerous violations of proper police procedure perpetrated by the rogue department, two of which resulted in citizens’ deaths and a culture of systematically rewarding officers financially for generating revenue for the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission and its independent Kangaroo court.
Senator O’Scanlon, long a fighter of systematic government revenue generation under the guise of traffic safety, is calling for the department and the independent court to be disbanded.
“The Palisades Parkway Police Department has blatantly violated the law and Attorney General Directives,” Senator O’Scanlon said. “Their dangerous high speed chases have resulted in death and injury. Their incentive driven law enforcement procedures are just plain wrong and give our outstanding police officers throughout New Jersey a bad rap. The department should be disbanded and the highway patrol taken over by our outstanding State Police led by Col. Patrick J. Callahan.”
“We don’t need a separate court for 11 miles of highway when we have fine municipal courts in the host towns,” O’Scanlon added. “Let’s let the fines from legitimate violations support the taxpayers of the host towns, rather than fund a rogue police department with its own court.”
Assemblyman Johnson, a former police officer and a former Bergen County Sheriff, has been raising alarm bells about the department for over a decade.
“Now more than ever, the public needs to have faith in their law enforcement officers. When that trust is systematically and repeatedly violated by a police department, there needs to be serious repercussions, “Assemblyman Johnson said. “The report of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and previous behavior of this department clearly show that the Palisades Interstate Park Commission do not have the ability to properly oversee and direct a law enforcement agency. Therefore, I will be asking my colleagues in the legislature to join in making legislative changes to that broken chain of command between the PIP Park Commission and the PIP Police Department.”
O’Scanlon said he was proud to support Johnson is advocating for the reforms in Bergen County and he rejected the suggestion that he should stick to Monmouth County issues.
“Bad cops and agencies anywhere in New Jersey are a problem for the overwhelming majority of outstanding officers and law enforcement agencies, like we have in Monmouth County,” O’Scanlon said. “I will continue speak out against corruption, systematic and individual, anywhere in New Jersey, as I have with the crooked Red Light Camera Program and other abuses of citizens and motorists.”