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Police and Law Enforcement Home    >    Editorials    >    Legislature Right to Sanction Assemblyman, Defend Trooper


Police and
Law Enforcement News




Legislature Right to
Sanction Assemblyman,
Defend Trooper
Police and Law Enforcement News
Wednesday, December 18, 2013  4:47 a.m.


Last December, we published a column ("A Trooper, An Assemblyman, and a Video" December, 2012) where we called out the New Jersey Legislature and raised serious doubt as to whether they would take action against one of their own for the false accusations he made against a New Jersey state trooper.

We were wrong.

The entire episode began in February of 2012 when Assemblyman Nelson Albano filed an internal affairs complaint against New Jersey State Trooper Randy Pangborn.  Trooper Pangborn had stopped Mr. Albano several days earlier.

Mr. Albano filed the complaint in the form of a letter prepared on official letterhead, and he sent it directly to the colonel of the New Jersey State Police.

In the letter, Mr. Albano said that the trooper made him feel like a criminal and requested a second unit to block in the assemblyman's car.  More seriously, he accused Trooper Pangborn of purposely targeting him in retaliation "because of the changes in health care and pension reform,"  an accusation which borders on second degree official misconduct.

The video from the dash camera of Trooper Pangborn's car depicted an entirely different encounter.  It showed Trooper Pangborn to be completely courteous and professional during the entire stop.  He never requested a second car and Mr. Albano's vehicle was never boxed in by other trooper units.. 

As a result, Trooper Pangborn was completely cleared.

On Tuesday, the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards voted 8-0 to fine Mr. Albano $500. for violating the public's trust.  

Clearly, they acted with no immediacy which is unfortunate.  It took more than a year to get to this point.  Also, the complaint was filed by a citizen, not from within the legislature.  It's actually rather pathetic.  But at least a sanction was imposed. 

One bright spot was that democrats and republicans were able to find rare common ground and vote unanimously. 

In all fairness, we should mention that according to the Star Ledger, Mr. Albano subsequently withdrew his complaint and issued an apology.  His attorney also pointed out that at the time of the initial incident, the man who killed Mr. Albano's son in a DWI car accident was being released from prison.  It doesn't excuse what happened, but it is a mitigating factor worthy of mention.

In the end, what matters most is that a New Jersey police officer was cleared of false allegations. 

And the dashboard camera saves yet another career.

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