YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: “Get the f— out of here!” a Bergen County Police officer in an unmarked vehicle told a New Jersey state trooper before he “invaded” his “personal space” during a heated confrontation on the NJ Turnpike, the trooper wrote in a report released today.
New Jersey State Police today officially confirmed CLIFFVIEW PILOT‘s exclusive June account of the incident, in which the trooper — concerned about reports of carjackers pretending to be police — said he was confronted by the officers on a roadway under State Police jurisdiction.
The release of the report comes after an incident involving a Bergen County Sheriff’s officer who said he felt “distracted and intimidated” after pulling over a county freeholder for a traffic violation (SEE: Bergen sheriff’s officer claims being ‘distracted, intimidated’ by county police after stopping freeholder).
- YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: A pair of Bergen County police officers and a rookie New Jersey State Police trooper go face-to-face in a profanity-laced shouting match on a dashboard camera video shot on the NJ Turnpike. CLIFFVIEW PILOT has obtained the video of the May 31 encounter on the NJ Turnpike in May. CLICK HERE ….
Along with a dashcam video taken from the trooper’s cruiser, the NJSP fulfilled an OPRA request from CLIFFVIEW PILOT with copies of the official report from the May 31 incident — and disclosed that another incident had taken place five months earlier.
In his report, the trooper said he pulled up to what “appeared to be some type of unmarked police vehicle on a motor vehicle stop” around 2 p.m. May 31 at milepost 118.5 in Leonia near the George Washington Bridge.
“The vehicle, a blue Dodge Caravan, had strobe lights in the rear and a visor mounted strobe as well,” he said.
“An unidentified plain clothes officer was outside the vehicle and questioning someone at the time of my arrival,” wrote the trooper, who is assigned to the Newark barracks. “The PC officer was wearing a Tac-Vest which said ‘Police’ and his handgun was tucked in his rear [waistband]. He had no other form of ID visible.”
Multiple sources identified him for CLIFFVIEW PILOT as BCPD Officer Robert Duboue.
“Due to the recent rash of police impersonator incidents in the area I unholstered my weapon and had it at a police ready [position]. I firmly asked the unknown plain clothes officer to show me his picture identification,” the trooper added. “The PC officer obliged my request, provided me with his Bergen County Police issued picture ID and proceeded to tell me to ‘Get the [f—] out of here!’ ”
Although his response wasn’t included in the State Police report, sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that the trooper said: “I’m not leaving….I work here and will leave when the f*** I want.”
“Due to the fact that the vehicle he had stopped was occupied by four males I stood by in a back up capacity,” the report says. “Once his back up units arrived they also began to engage me in a verbal altercation.”
At one point, a source said, Duboue allegedly backed the trooper toward the guard rail, sources said. The two “went chest-to-chest and face-to-face,” one of them told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
In his report, the trooper wrote: “At one point the initial PC officer I had contact with had invaded my personal space. I was forced to create distance between us in order to avoid a physical confrontation. A verbal argument continued on between myself and the PC officer.”
State Police tolday also revealed an earlier incident – this one just before 3 in the afternoon on Jan. 31 – involving a county police K9 vehicle found stopped in the painted lines of a turnpike entrance in Teaneck.
A trooper responded because of past incidents involving people posing as police. Everything checked out fine, without incident, he reported.
“I stand firmly behind the actions of our trooper in the face of a potentially dangerous interaction,” said Col. Rick Fuentes, the State Police superintendent, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.
“In the two weeks prior to this incident, two separate vehicles on the Turnpike were carjacked by armed men impersonating police officers. The criminals were wearing police-type clothing and ballistic vests,” Fuentes said.
“Aware of these incidents, and with no advance notice of the operation, our trooper was fully justified in approaching this stop with the utmost caution,” the superintendent said.
Multiple sources confirmed that an NJSP major personally called on Bergen County Police Chief Brian Higgins to address the issue.
Higgins did not return calls, texts or emails. Besides questions about the incident, CLIFFVIEW PILOT was unable to obtain a response to why a county police officer was apparently stopping a motorist on the Turnpike, where State Police have jurisdiction.
“This incident has been investigated by both agencies and is closed,” Jeanne Baratta, County Executive Kathleen Donovan’s chief of staff, said this afternoon.
“Interaction between plain clothes officers and uniformed officers can be a dangerous situation. We have seen officers shot in the past,” Baratta told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
“Our concern is for the safety of all law enforcement officers, and we are pleased that no police officer was hurt,” she said.
“The Bergen County Police and the New Jersey State Troopers have worked past this incident and continue to have a good working relationship (they recently worked together on the tragic drowning at Overpeck Creek),” Baratta added. “They will continue to work together.
“Chief Higgins recently received correspondence from Colonial Fuentes of the New Jersey State Police regarding the Bergen County Police and NJ State Police working together on providing manpower and assets for the upcoming Super Bowl.”
On May 26, authorities reported that a vehicle was pulled over on the Turnpike outside Newark by two men wearing what looked like police clothing — one of them armed with a semi-automatic handgun — who carjacked the motorist. A previous incident on May 16 followed a similar scenario, law enforcement sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
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