Borough of Morris Plains, NJ
Morris County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2[2]]
The purpose of this chapter is to revise all existing ordinances of the Borough pertaining to the establishment, maintenance, regulation and control of the Morris Plains Police Department in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-118 et seq., and to prescribe rules and regulations respecting the Department in order that its organization shall be improved and its operations conducted more efficiently.
[1]
Editor's Note: For state law applicable to all municipalities affecting generally the establishment, maintenance and government of a police department and the qualifications and discipline of its members, see N.J.S.A. 40A:14-118 et seq.
[2]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 18, Police Department, derived from Ord. No. 9-48, as amended.
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2; No. 10-2001, § 1; No. 25-2002, § 1; Ord. No. 5-2020, § 1]
There is hereby created in and for the Borough of Morris Plains a Police Department which shall consist of the following members and officers and the maximum number of persons to be appointed to these positions as the Borough Council may hereafter deem necessary and proper and designate by resolution:
Title of Position
Authorized Number of Personnel
Chief of Police
1
Lieutenant
2
Sergeant
5
Police Officer
14
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2]
The Police Department shall preserve the public peace; protect life and property; detect, arrest and prosecute offenders of the laws of New Jersey and the ordinances of the Borough; direct and control traffic; provide attendance and protection during emergencies; provide appearances in court; cooperate with all other law enforcement agencies; and provide training for the efficiency of its members and officers.
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2]
(a) 
Borough Council. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-118 et seq., the Borough Council is hereby designated as the "appropriate authority."
(b) 
Public Safety Committee. The Borough Council does hereby establish a Public Safety Committee which shall consist of three members of the Borough Council. The Mayor, with the consent and approval of the Council, expressed by a majority vote of the members thereof, shall each year appoint a Chairman of the Public Safety Committee.
(1) 
The Public Safety Committee shall supervise the Police Department and is designated as the Committee to whom the Chief of Police shall be directly responsible for the efficiency and routine day-to-day operations thereof.
(2) 
In all other respects, the Public Safety Committee shall serve as the liaison between the Borough Council and the Chief of Police and shall be the Committee with whom the Chief of Police shall communicate and from whom the Chief of Police shall take his orders and directives from the Borough Council regarding policy matters.
(c) 
Chief of Police. The Chief of Police shall be the head of the Police Department and shall be directly responsible to the Public Safety Committee for its efficiency and day-to-day operations. Pursuant to policies established by the Borough Council, the Chief of Police shall:
(1) 
Administer and enforce the rules and regulations of the Police Department and any special emergency directive for the disposition and discipline of the Department and its members an officers.
(2) 
Have, exercise and discharge the functions, powers and duties of the Police Department.
(3) 
Prescribe the duties and assignments of all members and officers.
(4) 
Delegate such authority as may be deemed necessary for the efficient operation of the Police Department to be exercised under the Chief's direction and control.
(5) 
Report at least monthly to the Borough Council, in such form as shall be prescribed, on the operation of the Police Department during the preceding month and make such other reports as may be requested by the Borough Council.
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2]
(a) 
The Borough Council shall, from time to time, adopt, amend or repeal, by resolution, such rules and regulations for the government of the Police Department and the discipline of its members, upon the advice and recommendation of the Chief of Police and the Public Safety Committee, and such other rules and regulations as it deems necessary or proper concerning the powers, duties, regulation and control of the Police Department.
(b) 
All such rules and regulations shall be in writing and shall be filed in the office of the Borough Clerk and in the office of the Chief of Police and distributed to all members of the Police Department.
(c) 
Ratification of existing rules and regulations. There is currently a document entitled "Morris Plains Police Department Manual of Rules and Regulations" which contains general orders, standing instructions and certain departmental policies. Said rules, regulations and policies are hereby ratified and adopted and shall be known as the "Morris Plains Police Department Manual of Rules and Regulations." Said manual shall be filed in the office of the Borough Clerk and in the office of the Chief of Police and distributed to all members of the Police Department in accordance with Paragraph (b) above. The Borough Council specifically reserves, however, the right to repeal, amend or supplement any and all of the rules, regulations, orders or procedures set forth in said manual, as circumstances require.
(d) 
Any neglect by any member of the Police Department to carry out such rules and regulations shall be sufficient cause for his dismissal from the Police Department. Moreover, should any member of the Police Department be cited or disciplined for failure to observe the rules and regulations, ignorance of any provision in the rules and regulations shall not be accepted as an excuse and shall not constitute a defense to said disciplinary charges.
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2]
(a) 
All members of the Police Department shall be appointed by the Borough Council and shall, after their appointment and confirmation, serve a probationary period of one (1) year during which time their on-the-job performance shall be evaluated by the Chief of Police who, one (1) month prior to the conclusion of said one-year probationary period, shall make a recommendation to the Public Safety Committee and the Borough Council regarding the permanent status of the particular officer. During said probationary period, said officer shall serve at the pleasure of the Borough Council and may be terminated without cause.
(b) 
Upon appointment to permanent employment by the Borough Council following the successful completion of the on-the-job probationary period described above, members of the Police Department shall hold their respective offices and continue in their respective employment, during good behavior until retirement, death, voluntary resignation or removal for cause as provided by the N.J.S.A. 40A:14-147, this chapter and the rules and regulations established for the government and discipline of the Police Department.
[Ord. No. 3-2010, § 1; Ord. No. 25-94, § 2; No. 10-2003, § 1]
(a) 
Except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall be appointed to the Police Department unless he or she:
[Ord. No. 7-2015, § 1]
(1) 
Possesses the requisite qualifications prescribed by N.J.S.A. 40A:14-122 and N.J.S.A. 40A:14-127; and
(2) 
Successfully passes such written and oral examinations as may be prescribed by the Borough Council;
(3) 
Successfully passes such physical, mental and psychological examinations as may be prescribed by the Borough Council; and
(4) 
Effective March 20, 2015:
(i) 
Possesses a bachelor of arts or science degree from an undergraduate institution accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; or
(ii) 
Possesses an associates of arts or science degree from an undergraduate institution accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, or has completed 65 credits or more at such an accredited institution, and has been honorably discharged from service in the United States military.
(b) 
Effective June 1, 2006, no person shall be promoted to or hired at the rank of Sergeant unless he or she:
(1) 
Possesses an associates degree from an undergraduate institution accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; or
(2) 
Is currently enrolled in such an accredited undergraduate institution and has completed 65 credits or more that satisfy the matriculation requirements for a bachelor of arts or science degree from that institution; or
(3) 
Has been honorably discharged from service in the United States military and is currently enrolled in an undergraduate institution accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and has completed 35 credits or more that satisfy the matriculation requirements for an associates degree or a bachelor of arts or science degree from that institution.
(c) 
Effective June 1, 2011, no person shall be promoted to or hired at the rank of Lieutenant or Captain unless he or she is actively enrolled at an undergraduate institution accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and has obtained at least 90 credits towards a bachelor of arts or science degree from such institution.
(d) 
Effective June 1, 2006, no person shall be promoted to or hired at the rank of Chief unless he or she possesses a bachelor of arts or science degree from an undergraduate institution accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools or has completed all of the requirements necessary for graduation with a bachelor of arts or science degree.
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2]
Before entering upon the duties of the office, and within 10 days after appointment, each member of the Police Department shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation to faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office of a member of the Police Department and to uphold and observe the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of New Jersey and the ordinances of the Borough. Said oath or affirmation shall be taken before and filed with the Borough Clerk.
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2]
The Chief of Police shall cause to be kept a register of the number of days and parts of days actually served on regular duty by Police Department personnel and at the end of each month cause to be certified such time so served and the amount of salary due to each employee.
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2; No. 3-2002, §§ 4, 5; No. 3-2004, § 1]
(a) 
Policy established. For the convenience of those persons and entities which utilize the services of off-duty law enforcement officers of the Borough of Morris Plains and to authorize the outside employment of Borough police officers while off-duty, the Borough hereby establishes a policy regarding the use of said officers.
(b) 
Escrow accounts.
(1) 
Any person or entity requesting the services of an off-duty law enforcement officer in the Borough shall estimate the number of hours such law enforcement services are required and shall establish an escrow account with the Chief Financial Officer of the Borough by depositing an amount sufficient to cover the rates of compensation and administrative fees set forth in Paragraph (d) below for the total estimated hours of service.
(2) 
Prior to posting any request for services of off-duty law enforcement officers, the Chief of Police or his designee shall verify that the balance in the escrow account of the person or entity requesting services is sufficient to cover the compensation and fees for the number of hours specified in the request for services. The Chief of Police shall not post a request for services from any person or entity unless all fees and compensation required in the manner described above have been deposited with the Chief Financial Officer of the Borough.
(3) 
In the event that the funds in such an escrow account should become depleted, services of off-duty law enforcement officers shall cease, and requests for future services shall not be posted until additional funds have been deposited in the escrow account in the manner prescribed above.
(4) 
The person or entity requesting such services shall be responsible for ensuring that sufficient funds remain in the escrow account in order to avoid an interruption of services.
(c) 
Requests for services; officers to be treated as Borough employees.
(1) 
All requests to the Borough for the services of off-duty law enforcement officers in the Borough shall be forwarded to the Chief of Police for posting.
(2) 
Any law enforcement officer, when so employed in the Borough, shall be treated as an employee of the Borough of Morris Plains; provided, however, that wages earned through outside employment shall not be applied towards the pension benefits of the law enforcement officer so employed, nor shall hours worked for outside employment be considered in any way compensable as overtime.
(d) 
Rates of compensation and fees; payment for services.
(1) 
Rates of compensation for the services of off-duty law enforcement officers are established as set forth in the Fee Schedule of the Borough of Morris Plains, Chapter 2, Section 2-46, of the Revised Ordinances.
(2) 
An additional fee to cover administrative costs to the Borough is hereby established as set forth in the Fee Schedule of the Borough of Morris Plains, Chapter 2, Section 2-46, of the Revised Ordinances.
(3) 
Payment to law enforcement officers for outside employment shall be made through the Borough's payroll process.
(4) 
An additional fee for the use of a police car is hereby established as set forth in the Fee Schedule of the Borough of Morris Plains, Chapter 2, Section 2-46 of the Revised Ordinances.
(e) 
Hold harmless agreement and insurance requirements. Any person or entity requesting the services of an off-duty law enforcement officer in the Borough shall file with the Borough Clerk an executed hold harmless agreement and proof of insurance, the form of which shall be approved by the Borough Attorney. Prior to posting any request for services of off-duty law enforcement officers, the Chief of Police or his designee shall verify that the person or entity requesting services has an effective hold harmless agreement and proof of insurance on file in the Borough Clerk's office.
[Ord. No. 25-94, § 2; Ord. No. 10-2018, §§ 1, 2, 3, 4; Ord. No. 36-2018, §§ 1, 2]
(a) 
Appointment, term and revocation. The Borough Council may, as it deems necessary, appoint special law enforcement officers for the Borough of Morris Plains for terms not to exceed one year in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.8 et seq. Such appointments may be revoked by the Borough Council for cause after adequate hearing, unless the appointment is for four months or less, in which event the appointment may be revoked without cause or hearing. Special law enforcement officers so appointed shall not be members of the Police Department, and their powers and duties shall cease at the expiration of the term for which appointed or upon revocation of their appointments.
(b) 
Classification and powers. The classifications of the special law enforcement officers shall be based upon the duties to be performed by said officers and are established as follows:
(1) 
Class One. Officers of this class are authorized to perform routine traffic detail, spectator control and similar duties as may be assigned by the Chief of Police or, in the absence of the Chief, another law enforcement officer in a supervisory capacity designated by the Chief to act in his stead. Class One officers are also authorized to issue summonses for disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses, violations of municipal ordinances and violations of Title 39 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes. The use of firearms by Class One officers is strictly prohibited, and no Class One officer shall be assigned any duties which may require the carrying or use of a firearm.
(2) 
Class Two. Officers of this class are authorized to exercise full powers and duties similar to those of a permanent, regularly appointed full-time police officer. They shall be assigned such powers and duties by the Chief of Police or, in the absence of the Chief, another law enforcement officer in a supervisory capacity designated by the Chief to act in his stead. The use of a firearm by a Class Two officer may be authorized only after the officer has been fully certified as successfully completing training as prescribed by the Police Training Commission established within the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.
(3) 
Class Three. Officers of this class are authorized to exercise full powers and duties similar to those of a permanent, regularly appointed full-time police officer while providing security at a public or nonpublic school or a county college on the school or college premises during hours when the public or nonpublic school or county college is normally in session or when it is occupied by public or nonpublic school or county college students or their teachers or professors. While on duty in the jurisdiction of employment, an officer may respond to offenses or emergencies off school or college grounds if they occur in the officer's presence while traveling to a school facility or county college, but an officer shall not otherwise be dispatched or dedicated to any assignment off school or college property. The use of a firearm by an officer of this Class Three shall be authorized pursuant to the provisions of Subsection b of Section 7 of P.L. 1983, c. 439 (N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.14). An officer of this class shall not be authorized to carry a firearm while off duty unless the officer complies with the requirements set forth in Subsection 1 of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-6, authorizing a retired law enforcement officer to carry a handgun.
(c) 
Qualifications.
(1) 
No person shall be appointed as a special law enforcement officer unless the person meets the following requirements as set forth in N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.10:
(i) 
Is a resident of the State of New Jersey.
(ii) 
Is able to read, write and speak the English language well and intelligently and has a high school diploma or equivalent.
(iii) 
Is sound in body and of good health.
(iv) 
Is of good moral character.
(v) 
Has not been convicted of any offense involving dishonesty or which would make the person unfit to perform the duties of a special law enforcement officer.
(vi) 
Has successfully undergone the same psychological testing that is required of all full-time members of the Police Department.
(2) 
Every applicant for the position of special law enforcement officer shall have fingerprints taken by the Chief of Police, which fingerprints shall be filed with the Division of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(3) 
No person shall be appointed to serve as a special law enforcement officer of the Borough at the same time that he or she serves as a special law enforcement officer in any other municipality. No public official with responsibility for setting law enforcement policy or exercising authority over the budget of the Borough or supervision of the Police Department shall be appointed as a special law enforcement officer.
(4) 
Before any special law enforcement officer is appointed pursuant to this section, the Chief of Police shall ascertain the eligibility and qualifications of the applicant and report these determinations in writing to the Public Safety Committee.
(5) 
In addition to the qualifications established in Paragraph (1) of this section, a person shall not be appointed as a Class Three special law enforcement officer unless the person:
(i) 
Is a retired law enforcement officer who is less than 65 years of age; for the purpose of this paragraph, a law enforcement officer shall not be considered retired if the officer's return to employment violates any federal or state law or regulation which would deem the officer's retirement as not being bona fide;
(ii) 
Had served as a duly qualified, fully trained officer in any municipality or county of the State of New Jersey or as a member of the New Jersey State Police and was separated from that prior service in good standing, within three years of appointment, except during the first year following the effective date of P.L. 2016, c. 68, was separated from that prior service within five years of appointment;
(iii) 
Is physically capable of performing the functions of the position, determined in accordance with Police Training Commission guidelines;
(iv) 
Possesses a New Jersey Police Training Commission Basic Police Officer certification or New Jersey State Police Academy certification;
(v) 
Has completed the training course for safe schools resource officers developed pursuant to Subsection a of Section 2 of P.L. 2005, c. 276 (N.J.S.A. 52:17B-71.8); and
(vi) 
Is hired in a part-time capacity.
(d) 
Uniforms. The uniform of special law enforcement officers shall be furnished by the Chief of Police in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.12.
(e) 
Supervision and direction.
(1) 
Special law enforcement officers shall be under the supervision and direction of the Chief of Police or, in the absence of the Chief, another superior officer designated by the Chief of Police, and shall perform their duties only in the Borough of Morris Plains unless in fresh pursuit of any person, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:156-1 et seq., or when authorized to perform duties in another municipality pursuant to a mutual-aid agreement enacted in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-156.1.
(2) 
Special law enforcement officers shall comply with the rules and regulations applicable to the conduct and decorum of the permanent, regularly appointed police officers of the Police Department, as well as any rules and regulations applicable to the conduct and decorum of special law enforcement officers.
(f) 
Compensation. Compensation for each class of special law enforcement officers shall be established annually by ordinance of the Borough Council.
(g) 
Limitations on number of officers. The number of special law enforcement officers employed by the Borough shall be limited as follows:
(1) 
Class One. Not more than the number of regular police officers employed by the Borough.
(2) 
Class Two. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.17, not more than 25% of the number of regular police officers employed by the Borough.
(3) 
Class Three. Not more than 10 Class Three special law enforcement officers shall be appointed by the Borough.
(h) 
Hours of employment; duty assignment.
(1) 
Except as provided in Paragraph (2) below, no special law enforcement officer may be employed for more than 20 hours per week by the Borough, except that special law enforcement officers may be employed by the Borough for those hours as the Borough Council may determine necessary in accordance with the following:
(i) 
Special law enforcement officers may be assigned without limitation as to hours during periods of emergency.
(ii) 
In addition to not more than 20 hours per week, including duties assigned by the Chief of Police pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.14, a special law enforcement officer may be assigned for not more than 20 hours per week to provide public safety and law enforcement services to a public entity.
(2) 
Exceptions.
(i) 
The Borough may designate one special law enforcement officer to whom the limitations on hours employed set forth in Paragraph (1) of this section shall not be applicable as provided by N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.16c.
(ii) 
Class Three special law enforcement officers may be employed for no more than 29 hours per week as permitted by N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.16a(5).
[Ord. No. 13-97, § 1, 2]
(a) 
Except as otherwise provided by law, no permanent member of the Police Department shall be removed from his office, employment or position for political reasons or for any other cause other than misconduct or neglect or disobedience of the rules and regulations established for the government of the Police Department, nor shall such member be suspended, removed, fined or reduced in rank from or in office, employment or position therein, except for just cause, and then only upon a written complaint setting forth the charge or charges against such member or officer and after proceedings in accordance with law and this chapter.
(b) 
All charges against members of the Police Department shall be prosecuted by the Chief of Police, who shall file with the Public Safety Committee a written complaint setting forth the charges in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-147. The Public Safety Committee shall immediately forward said complaint to the Borough Council, and a copy shall be served upon the officer so charged. The copy served upon the officer so charged shall contain a notice of the date and time of the hearing on the charges, which hearing shall be held by the Borough Council not less than 10 nor more than 30 days from the date the complaint was served upon the officer so charged. The Borough Council in its discretion may, by resolution, designate its Public Safety Committee to serve as hearing officer for the purpose of conducting the disciplinary hearing or appoint an independent hearing officer for such purpose.
(c) 
A complaint charging a violation of the internal rules and regulations established for the conduct of the Police Department shall be filed no later than the 45th day after the date on which the Chief of Police obtained sufficient information to file the matter upon which the complaint is based. This forty-five-day time limit shall not apply in an investigation of a law enforcement officer for a violation of the internal rules or regulations of the Police Department if included directly or indirectly within a concurrent investigation of that officer for a violation of the criminal laws of New Jersey, in which case the forty-five-day time limit shall begin on the day after the disposition of the criminal investigation.
(d) 
On the designated hearing date, the Borough Council, or its designee, shall conduct a disciplinary hearing in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-147 and 40A:14-148. The Council shall have the authority to suspend, remove, fine or reduce in rank any member of the Police Department found guilty of the charges brought. In any such disciplinary hearing conducted by the Public Safety Committee or an independent hearing officer, the Committee or hearing officer shall submit a report and recommendation to the Borough Council as an initial decision. The Borough Council may accept, reject or modify the initial decision of the Committee or hearing officer.
(e) 
A failure to comply with the provisions of this section as to the service of the complaint and the time within which a complaint is to be filed shall require a dismissal of the complaint.
[Ord. No. 21-97, § 1]
(a) 
The Borough Council believes that Police Department civilian employees should have the right to direct access to the Borough Council in the resolution of any complaint arising out of discipline received by such a civilian employee. Accordingly, upon receipt of a proposed disciplinary action, a civilian employee may file an appeal thereto as outlined herein.
(b) 
Any civilian employee who is disciplined pursuant hereto shall have the right to appeal the action directly to the Borough Council. The appeal shall be in writing and shall be submitted to the Borough Clerk within five working days after the employee receives notice of the proposed disciplinary action. Failure to submit a written appeal to the Borough Clerk within five working days shall act as a waiver of the appeal process, and the disciplinary action will be final and binding.
(c) 
The Borough Council provide a civilian employee the opportunity for a hearing before the Borough Council, or its designee, prior to the imposition of "major discipline" which shall be defined as a fine or suspension in excess of five days. If the employee seeks a public hearing, he or she must submit a written request to the Borough Clerk no later than 72 hours in advance of the scheduled hearing.
(d) 
The Borough Council, in its discretion, may designate one of its standing committees or an independent person as hearing officer for the purpose of conducting the disciplinary hearing. The hearing officer shall, if appointed, submit a report and recommendation to the Borough Council as an initial decision. The Borough Council may accept, reject or modify the initial decision of the hearing officer.
(e) 
The Borough Council's decision shall be final and binding on all parties.
(f) 
The provisions of this section shall not supersede any statutory provisions, Borough rules and regulations or other ordinances governing any of its departments as to disciplinary procedures.