Information on Hiring Process, Training, Internal Affairs Complaints and other areas in response to citizen inquiries.

In light of recent events involving police use of force and policing in general throughout our nation, the Denville Police Department has been receiving several requests from residents regarding our policies, training, and hiring process. Rather than just answering these questions individually, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide this information to the entire Denville community.

Hiring Process
Whenever there is an opening for the position of police officer within the department, the position is advertised in many different ways to ensure that the general public is aware of the opening and the application process. The various ways the position is advertised includes, but is not limited to, all of the following: Denville Police Department website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages; Nixle; PoliceApps website; New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) website; employment bulletin boards at the Morris, Passaic, Essex, Union, Warren and Sussex County community colleges; employment bulletin board of Rutgers University/Newark campus; advertisement with the National Minority Update website and press publication; press release to all local media outlets; announcements via variable message boards throughout the Township.

In order to apply for the position, the following minimum requirements must be met:
- Must not be less than 18 years of age or more than 35 years at time of appointment
- Must be of sound body, good moral character, and in good health sufficient to satisfy the board of trustees of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) of New Jersey
- Must possess a minimum of 60 college credits from an accredited college or university, with preference provided to applicants who have a B.A./B.S. degree.
- Must be a citizen of the United States and a legal resident of the State of New Jersey
- Must possess a valid New Jersey Driver’s License
- Must not have been convicted of a crime.

After the application deadline has past, all applications are reviewed to ensure that applicants meet the above minimum requirements. All of the applicants who meet the requirements are then scheduled to take a physical test.

The physical test, which is based on specific job-related fitness standards identified by the Cooper Institute (Nationally Accredited Fitness Standards), consists of the following: completing a 1.5 mile run in 14 minutes and 40 seconds or less, completing a 300 meter run in 64.3 seconds or less, completing 34 push-ups in a minute, completing 38 sit-ups in a minute, and completing a vertical jump of at least 16 inches. In order to pass the physical test and move onto the next phase of the hiring process, the applicant must obtain a passing score in each of the above elements.

Those applicants who successfully complete the physical test then must pass a written examination conducted by the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police. The written exam is a one and a half hour long timed exam in which a minimum score of 80% must be achieved to move onto the interview phase.

The interview phase consists of three separate interview panels. The first set of interviews are conducted by selected non-ranking officers and/or sergeants. The second set of interviews are conducted by the department’s two lieutenants. The final set of interviews are conducted by the Chief of Police and Captain. In each stage, the applicant and his/her answers are compared against the department’s core values of honesty, integrity, fairness, compassion and respect. The applicant can be removed from the process during any of the three interview phases. In addition, before being offered a position with the department, the applicant must also pass an interview conducted by both the Mayor and Township Administrator.

During the hiring process, the applicant also goes through a thorough background investigation. All references are checked, social media history reviewed, criminal history records searched, motor vehicle records examined, etc. Any negative issues identified during the background investigation may result in the disqualification of the applicant.

All officers must successfully complete a New Jersey Basic Police Academy Course and obtain their PTC Certificate from the Police Training Commission. The police academy is a 20-week training program consisting of both classroom and hands-on training in various police tactics, criminal law and physical training.

After an officer graduates from the Police Academy, he/she must complete a 10-week field training program. During this time, the new officer is paired with an experienced officer who has received specialized training as a field training officer. The program includes a review of the department’s policies and procedures as well as training in the everyday practices of policing Denville Township. Once the officer successfully completes this program, he/she is released to work as a fully certified police officer. However, the officer will remain on probationary status for their first year of service.

In addition to the basic police academy training, all of our officers also receive updated in-service training. This training includes, but is not limited to, the following areas.
- Use of Force Training, including a review of de-escalation techniques, twice a year;
- Firearms Qualifications/Training, six times a year;
- Less Lethal (PR-24/MEB/OC) Certification/Training, every other year;
- Pursuit Training, twice a year;
- Domestic Violence Training, every year;
- Legal Update Training, every year;
- Ethics Training, every three years;
- Bias Based Police Training, every three years;
- Emotionally Disturbed Persons Training, every three years;
- Community Law Enforcement Affirmative Relations (CLEAR) training; every year.

It should be noted that all new officers receive the above training during their first year of service with the department, even if the particular training topic was not scheduled/required to be provided to the remainder of the department during the year.

In addition, all officers also receive periodic training in various other topics to include CPR/First Aid Certification, Bloodborne Pathogens, Right to Know Training, and Cell Block Management. Furthermore, all officers receive training in various topics associated with their current assignments, such as Interview and Interrogation training, Crash Investigation Training, and Updates on the Laws of Arrest, Search and Seizure.

It should also be noted that almost all of our officers currently have college degrees or advanced degrees from accredited universities. Overall, seven officers currently possess a Master’s Degree, twenty-three officers possess a Bachelor’s degree and one officer possesses an Associate’s Degree. Two other officers are currently in the process of completing their Bachelor’s Degrees.

Internal Affairs/Complaints
All allegations of officer misconduct are taken very seriously and investigated by our Internal Affairs Officer. If the allegation of misconduct is or may be criminal in nature, the matter is referred to the Professional Standards Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. If it is determined that the allegation is in fact criminal, the investigation is then conducted by that independent agency. If it is determined that the allegation is only administrative in nature, violating the department’s Rules and Regulations or Policies and Procedures, the investigation is then completed by our Internal Affairs Officer.

In addition to investigating complaints against our officers, the Internal Affairs Officer also maintains an Early Warning System database. This database is used to track and review incidents of risk for every officer in the department. When the system indicates a possible pattern or practice that may be indicative of a potential problem, an internal affairs investigation is initiated and corrective actions are taken, if merited.

All sworn members of the department are also subject to random drug testing. Currently, the state mandates that 10% of the department is subject to a random test twice a year. We exceed this requirement, as we randomly test 2 officers a month the other ten months of the year.

Mobile Video Recording System
All of the department’s front-line police vehicles are equipped with a Mobile Video Recording (MVR) system. This system records both video and audio when activated. The system activates automatically whenever the vehicle’s emergency lights are activated and may also be activated at any other time by the officer.

Currently, the Denville Police Department does not possess or utilize body cameras. However, the department is currently conducting research into the potential future purchase of such cameras.

I believe it is also important to point out that the Denville Police Department is an accredited law enforcement agency. Accredited status represents a significant professional achievement, as its goal is to promote and enhance the highest ethical and professional standards in law enforcement. Accreditation acknowledges the implementation of policies and procedures that meet or exceed professional best practices and are conceptually sound and operationally effective. The Denville Police Department has continually maintained its accreditation status since first becoming an accredited law enforcement agency in 2014.

As part of our Mission Statement, the Denville Police Department identifies five core values expected of all of our employees – Honesty, Integrity, Fairness, Compassion and Respect. These core values are expected to be demonstrated by all of our employees in their interactions with general public at all times, regardless of the subject’s race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity.

It is our hope that the aforementioned criteria will help to alleviate any questions or concerns that you may have regarding the Denville Township Police Department. Although we take all of the above precautions to ensure the professionalism and impartiality of policing in Denville, we will still continue to seek additional training, equipment and other resources that we can utilize to ensure that our officers are among the best trained and most professional officers within New Jersey.

As a reminder, the Denville Police Department is here to protect and serve the Denville community. In our mission to accomplish that goal, we are open and receptive to input and questions from the community at any time. One of the reasons behind the development of our Citizens Police Academy was to further open transparency into the questions of who, what, when, where, why and how we police Denville Township and to develop a mutual understanding and trust with our community. I strongly recommend that anyone who has further questions or concerns chooses to participate in this worthwhile program.

I would like to thank all of those who have already reached out with questions. I would also like to take a moment to thank all those in the community who continue to support us in so many different ways, it is greatly appreciated. To all in our community, please stay safe and healthy!

Frank Perna
Chief of Police
Denville Township Police Department
973-627-4900 ext. 311