The head of the state’s largest law enforcement union is sounding alarms over the outcome of a marijuana legalization law he claims is restricting police officers from “upholding basic law and order across New Jersey.”
In a letter to Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin last week and was obtained by the New Jersey Globe, New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan said that minors have learned that that police officers can’t detain, search or arrest them without potentially facing civil rights charges.
According to Colligan, “public pot use by minors…have overwhelmed police departments throughout the Jersey shore and elsewhere.”
“It should not take an incident of a deadly DUI by a minor or a drug dealer using am minor as a mule gone wrong for the legislature to correct this,” said Colligan. “Minors know very well that a police officer can’t detain, search or arrest them for violations of the law without facing a 3rd Degree charge for deprivation of human rights.”
Colligan is appealing to the legislature to fix the law, saying it has “led to confusion, concern and morale issues.”
“Our members have reported to us numerous examples where they have come across minors suspected of breaking this and other laws where they felt helpless to stop a minor for fear of losing their jobs,” Colligan said. “This is unacceptable, and it will only get worse.
He cited the Beach Haven mobs, which was a pop-up party of teenagers that was spread on social media, voicing concern that police have their hands tied.
Colligan stressed that his complaint has “nothing to do with the incarceration of juveniles.”
“We stand ready to work with you to develop clean-up legislation to bring balance to this law and to stop making cops criminals for simply trying to protect the public and our children,” he said.