Home>Highlight>State Police reassigns troopers from statehouse after Republican rebellion

Legislators wait to enter the New Jersey General Assembly chambers on December 2, 2021. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

State Police reassigns troopers from statehouse after Republican rebellion

Assembly Speaker had criticized ‘colossal failure of security here at the statehouse’

By David Wildstein, December 07 2021 7:33 pm

The New Jersey State Police has confirmed that several state troopers were reassigned from their statehouse complex post following a revolt by some Republican lawmakers last Thursday.

“Troopers have been transferred to/from the Statehouse,” said Lt. Adam Detwechter, the public information unit head for the state police.

The state police were forced into the middle of a fight between Democratic legislative leaders and Republicans who opposed a new policy that required them to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test before entering the statehouse for last week’s voting session.

After determining that the troopers had no intention of restraining them following a brief standoff, GOP legislators simply walked past the troopers and onto the Assembly floor.

That drew the ire of Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who believed he had a commitment from the State Police to uphold a policy approved by the State Capitol Joint Management Commission last month.

““There’s been a colossal failure of security here at the statehouse,” Coughlin said at the start of the session.

In a letter, acting attorney general, Andrew Bruck, assured Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney that the state police would check for vaccination proof.  They did not.

“Shame on the Democrats for playing politics with the great men and women of law enforcement,” said State Sen. Steven Oroho (R-Franklin), the incoming Senate minority leader.  “The Democrats created a political powder keg and our NJSP are paying the price. Our NJSP deserve better.”

Detwechter didn’t say that the troopers were forced out.

The New Jersey State Police routinely cycles personnel through various stations and assignments,” Detwechter told the New Jersey Globe.  “This is due to staffing issues, promotions, individual (mutual) requests, operational needs of the Division of State Police and various other factors.”

Detwechter said that replacements are already in place.

“If personnel are moved, there are always Troopers who are selected to backfill those positions,” he said.  “This occurs across all branches of the division, and we do not leave positions vacant.”

This story was updated at 9:16 PM with comment from Oroho.

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