Citizen Complaint Procedures
“Officer I want that person arrested!” How many times have your heard that line in the movies? However, in real life it is not that easy. In most cases a Police Officer may have to witness a particular offense in order to make an arrest or even issue a summons for a traffic violation. But this does not mean that you are without recourse. The State of New Jersey gives private citizens the right to sign a complaint charging a violation of the law through the Municipal Court in the jurisdiction where the offense is alleged to have occurred.
In order to sign a complaint charging any individual with a criminal or disorderly persons offense you must first file a Police Report. After your have done so, you may obtain from the lobby of the police station, or the Court Administrator, a citizen’s complaint package that contains the appropriate affidavit. Complete these forms and return them to the Municipal Court Administrator during normal business hours in person. The Municipal Court Administrator requires that you make an appointment in advance.
The Glen Rock Municipal Court office hours are 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday to Friday. The phone number is (201) 670-3950.
Upon review of these forms, the court will prepare a formal complaint for you to sign under oath. Complaints are only issued if the court determines that probable cause exists. In some cases you may have to appear before the Judge, in court, and give formal testimony to establish probable cause to the satisfaction of the Judge.
In the case of a Borough Ordinance, Motor Vehicle or Parking Complaint, you do not have to complete an affidavit. However, you still must appear before the Municipal Court Administrator, during business hours, to sign a complaint under oath. Filing a police report does not constitute a formal complaint with the court. In most cases a Police Officer may have to witness a particular offense in order to make an arrest. Should the officer not witness the offense, the person making the allegation must sign the complaint. All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. As the complainant, you must be prepared to prove your case in court. It is recommended, but not required, that you consult your attorney before signing any complaints.
Procedures may vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If you wish to sign a complaint for an offense that occurred in another town, contact the court in that town an ask what their procedures are.
NOTICE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS: If you are a sworn law enforcement officer employed by any Federal, State or Local agency empowered to make an arrest under NJ State Law, please notify the officer in charge. You will be advised of the procedure for complaints filed by officers from outside agencies.