YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An incident on the New Jersey Turnpike involving two Bergen County Police Department officers and a trooper has New Jersey State Police calling for county authorities to investigate, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
“Our review shows that we can be proud of the way our officers reacted,” a State Police officer with direct knowledge of the incident told CLIFFVIEW PILOT while this story was being researched. “We can’t say the same for the other guys.”
The entire incident was recorded by the trooper’s dashcam, multiple sources confirmed. They also said that an NJSP major personally called on Bergen County Police Chief Brian Higgins to address the issue during a meeting last week.
Jeanne Baratta, the chief of staff for Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan, said that Higgins was handling the matter. She told CLIFFVIEW PILOT earlier this afternoon that she was trying to determine what happened, and how it was handled, for this story.
A text message was also left for Higgins at 11:30 a.m. and again at 3:50 p.m.
Besides questions about the incident, CLIFFVIEW PILOT was trying to determine why a county police officer was apparently stopping a motorist on the Turnpike, where State Police have jurisdiction.
State Police Lt. Stephen Jones this afternoon said that he couldn’t divulge much about the incident because it was still being investigated.
He did tell CLIFFVIEW PILOT that “there was an incident involving a uniformed trooper who stopped at the scene of a New Jersey Turnpike roadside arrest by plain-clothed Bergen County Police officers using an unmarked minivan.”
Jones added that the May 31 dust-up “occurred against the backdrop of three reports of police imposters wearing tactical vests performing armed robberies and carjackings in North Jersey using unmarked vehicles.”
He also said: “We have contacted Bergen County and both agencies are looking into the interaction.”
According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the incident, the trooper approached the Dodge Caravan — which was equipped with police strobes — on the southbound shoulder of the Turnpike near the George Washington Bridge 11 days ago.
Approaching the vehicle, the trooper — who is assigned to the Newark barracks — reported spotting a man wearing a tactical vest and no visible badge outside the van, the sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
The trooper reported that he held his weapon to his side for caution and ordered the man to show ID. READ MORE....