By: Najla Alexander
Authorities in Monmouth County announced that following a recent increase in Asbury Park Police Department Officers filing internal affairs complaints against each other, the Prosecutor's Office has installed an on-site monitor at the Asbury Park Police Department, effective last week.
"Given the sheer volume of internal complaints, this Office felt that it would be prudent to assist the Department during this critical time."
"Both to make certain that the officers in Asbury Park have the necessary time to devote to their primary function, ensuring the safety of the Asbury Park community."
"Also to investigate these complaints in a fair and consistent manner in order to determine the root of any problems that exist within one of the County's biggest and busiest departments," Prosecutor Santiago said.
"To be clear, our goal is to help the Asbury Park Police Department in any way we can, but also to ensure that it functions in a professional and efficient manner."
Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago stated the monitor was selected from MCPO's investigative ranks and will be present at random intervals within the Department for the foreseeable future.
"We are greatly limited in what we are able to say publicly with regard to specific matters involving internal affairs investigations, pending litigation, or a combination of both."
"Limited both by the New Jersey Attorney General's Internal Affairs Policy and Procedures (IAPP) and, as importantly, by our sworn duty to do everything within our power to avoid jeopardizing the integrity of such investigations and civil court proceedings," Prosecutor Santiago added.
"What we can say with great emphasis is that this office takes any and every allegation reported to our internal affairs personnel with the utmost seriousness."
"However, neither the mere presence of these complaints nor the action of installing a monitor presupposes that we find such allegations to be truthful or credible."
"We have been, are now, and will remain steadfastly committed to investigating each and every allegation with due diligence."
According to officials, the Prosecutor's Office is charged with maintaining oversight over every municipal police department in Monmouth County.
Officials stated that the increase in internal affairs complaints from members of the Asbury Park Police Department began in March 2023 and has escalated more precipitously in recent months.
Santiago said, "When we arrive at a time when we are able to say more, we will. "
"But for now, we intend to let this monitor work unimpeded – and also strive to achieve the overarching mission of ensuring that the people of Asbury Park can have full confidence in the work of those who protect and serve them."
"Which is something that can only be accomplished with the affirmative and collective cooperation from those within the Department's ranks."
"The Asbury Park Police Department has always had and will continue to maintain a strong working relationship with the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office," Asbury Park Police Chief David Kelso added.
"In the interest of remaining transparent, the Asbury Park Police Department has and will continue to cooperate in this matter."