UCPO assumes control over Clark Police Department due to alleged misconduct

CLARK, NJ — On Thursday, July 23, it was announced that the Union County Prosecutor’s Office will take over the Clark Township Police Department, effective immediately; the takeover encompasses law enforcement and internal affairs functions. This announcement comes approximately two weeks after the UCPO took control of the Fanwood Police Department on July 13, after the Fanwood police chief left the department abruptly.

According to the media release, in addition to the UCPO’s control over Clark Police Department, the prosecutor’s office will conduct a full investigation into “credible allegations” of misconduct involving the leadership of the police department.

With a strong urge to earn and restore the trust of the community, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is said to have pledged the full support of his office to assist and work with UCPO’s investigation, according to the UCPO.

According to the media release, Grewal and acting Prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo released the following joint statement: “The residents of Clark Township deserve police leaders that meet the highest standards of the profession. We will conduct a full inquiry into credible allegations of misconduct, and at the same time we will continue to work with our local partners to build greater trust between Clark’s law enforcement officers and the community they serve.”

In an effort to uncover what misconduct took place and who was involved in any incident that may have caused this full investigation, LocalSource reached out to the Office of the Attorney General, where Director of Communications Steven Barnes released this statement: “Upon completion of the investigation, acting Prosecutor Ruotolo will release a public report. We have no additional comment.”

LocalSource reached out to the Clark Police Department for comment, but the department did not comment by press time.

According to the media release, Ruotolo will assume control of the police department’s law enforcement functions through a process known as “supersession,” which permits the prosecutor, as the county’s chief law enforcement officer, to supervise the law enforcement responsibilities of local police departments within the county.

According to the media release, UCPO Capt. Harvey Barnwell will serve as officer-in-charge of the township’s police department. He will be assisted by UCPO Lt. Cassie Kim, who will be responsible for the department’s internal affairs unit, and UCPO Sgt. Andrew Dellaquila, who will provide support on a temporary basis.