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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.
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I applied to a citizens police class where a police department

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I applied to a citizens police class where a police department educates the public on what goes on within its police force in NJ. A background check will be conducted on all applicants to be in the course. I don't have a criminal record. Three weeks ago an officer called and asked me if I had a retraining order, and I said yes from an ex. He told me his boss would have to make the decision to allow me in the class. I spoke to the officer a week later, and he told me I would like the class as I'll be in a classroom the first three weeks. Today, I received a letter stating there were indescrepancies with what was indicated on my application. The letter does not specify what are the indecrepancies, but I feel it has to do with the RO. Doesn't the police department have to tell me what led them to the decision not to approve me for the class?
Welcome and thank you for your question!

I am very sorry to learn of your experience. I understand the process that you went through. The answer to your question is two-fold. They may seem to conflict with each other but there's really no other way to explain it.

First, this is a unique set of circumstances where you are not applying for a job and you are not being charged with a crime. So, in that sense, there are no due process rights that attach and, thus, the police department does not have a legal obligation to explain to you why they won't allow you into the class.

Second, police agencies are public agencies and they are subject to freedom of information / open records laws. You can learn more about New Jersey's law here: You can use that law to submit a written records request to the police department for all materials related to your application to the citizen's police class.

It has been my pleasure to assist you today with your information needs. It is my goal that you are satisfied. No expert can promise you an answer that is favorable to your circumstances. But I will do my very best to explain the legal principles that are related to the facts you’ve described so that you can better understand the “why” of things.

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