A member of the Mendham Township police force has filed a lawsuit against the department for allegedly encouraging officers to illegally profile young drivers for traffic stops.
Officer Robert Wysokowski, a 16-year veteran with the Mendham Township police force, filed the lawsuit earlier this year in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, NJ.
Wysokowski alleges in the lawsuit that the department has a “quota” for the number of vehicles which must be stopped for motor vehicle infractions.
According to Wysokowski, his sergeant ordered him to target drivers who appear to be in their late teens or early twenties – specifically drivers of vehicles with a County College of Morris parking permit.
Moreover, Wysokowski says, officers in the department are trained to shine a light into moving vehicles on local roadways in order to determine the age of the driver.
The lawsuit stems from what Wysokowski alleges is retaliation by the Mendham Township Police Department. According to the lawsuit, the department denied Wysokowski a promotion and overtime opportunities because he refused to engage in profiling.
The lawsuit seeks a promotion to sergeant, as well as compensation for damages and lost wages.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the police chief held a news conference to refute the allegations. He said that his officers “do not engage in illegal actions, unconstitutional acts or violate anyone’s rights.” The chief was flanked throughout the news conference by several members of the police force.
Later, an attorney for the Mendham Township Police Department issued a statement officially denying the lawsuit’s claims. Instead, he stated, officers are encouraged to be productive when on patrol.
The case is currently in its earliest stages. A trial date has not yet been set.
For more information about this case, access the NJ.com article entitled “Mendham Township: Cops Don’t Profile Young Drivers in Traffic Stops.”