LAWSUIT AGAINST CITY AND POLICE DEPARTMENTS COULD JEOPARDIZE SECURITY OF CITY RESIDENTS
New Brunswick, NJ, March 5, 2014 – Recent articles pertaining to a lawsuit brought against the City of New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Police Department and the Rutgers University Police Department by Charles Kratovil for “maps depicting boundaries or zones used to guide the New Brunswick Police Department and the Rutgers University Police Department in their law enforcement duties since 2010” contained inaccuracies and false information attributed to unnamed sources.
“Mr. Kratovil’s request for these maps under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the Common Law Right of Access was denied because it is a long-standing policy of law enforcement not to publish its strategies or deployment tactics. Information disseminated to the public about what, where and when police personnel are deployed gives the criminal element access to information that undermines and jeopardizes the safety and security of those we serve to protect,” said Anthony Caputo, Director of the New Brunswick Police Department.
“Mr. Kratovil’s assertions in his political blog that the information withheld is somehow indicative of an adversarial relationship between the NBPD and RUPD are totally false. Our two police departments work together everyday to protect both residents and students throughout the City,” Caputo added.
“I want to make clear that the RUPD has authority and jurisdiction to handle any criminal issue throughout the entire City. With the experience and specialized training Rutgers police officers receive in dealing with students and student issues, it makes sense for the RUPD to patrol those areas of the City where there is a high concentration of students. And by focusing on criminal and quality of life issues while on city streets, rather than motor vehicle infractions, the RUPD is better able to protect and serve Rutgers students,” Caputo said.
“The Memorandum of Understanding that currently exists between our two police departments is essential in a city like New Brunswick that has multiple law enforcement agencies. It is imperative that this agreement be in place so that police efforts are not duplicated and the expertise and ability of each department is utilized to maximum capacity,” Caputo stated.
“I am very proud of the men and women of the New Brunswick Police Department and the Rutgers University Police Department for their professionalism and service to the New Brunswick community,” Caputo added.
“Government has the responsibility to keep its citizenry informed and the right of citizens to have access to public information is critical in ensuring government meets that responsibility,” said Russell Marchetta, Public Information Officer for the City of New Brunswick.
“It is the City’s position that Mr. Kratovil’s request for this information does not pass the balancing test of the Common Law Right to Access. Mr. Kratovil’s interest in these maps does not outweigh the overall interests of the public to keep these maps confidential to protect the operations of the police departments and in turn the security and safety of our residents,” Marchetta added.
“Mr. Kratovil has every right to sue the City to obtain the documents he has requested. But it is unfortunate that he has gone beyond asking for official documents and uses the tragic death of William McCaw and the mob like atmosphere of what has been called “Delafest” in April of 2013, to try to mislead students and residents to discredit both the NBPD and RUPD. Mr. Kratovil’s actions are suspect and one has to question the true motives of his political blog,” Marchetta stated.