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police & fire

NJ State trooper confronted by Bergen County police on Turnpike, investigation demanded

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An incident on the New Jersey Turnpike involving two Bergen County Police Department officers and a trooper has New Jersey State Police calling for county authorities to investigate, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

“Our review shows that we can be proud of the way our officers reacted,” a State Police officer with direct knowledge of the incident told CLIFFVIEW PILOT while this story was being researched. “We can’t say the same for the other guys.”

The entire incident was recorded by the trooper’s dashcam, multiple sources confirmed. They also said that an NJSP major personally called on Bergen County Police Chief Brian Higgins to address the issue during a meeting last week.

Jeanne Baratta, the chief of staff for Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan, said that Higgins was handling the matter. She told CLIFFVIEW PILOT earlier this afternoon that she was trying to determine what happened, and how it was handled, for this story.

A text message was also left for Higgins at 11:30 a.m. and again at 3:50 p.m.

Besides questions about the incident, CLIFFVIEW PILOT was trying to determine why a county police officer was apparently stopping a motorist on the Turnpike, where State Police have jurisdiction.

State Police Lt. Stephen Jones this afternoon said that he couldn’t divulge much about the incident because it was still being investigated.

He did tell CLIFFVIEW PILOT that “there was an incident involving a uniformed trooper who stopped at the scene of a New Jersey Turnpike roadside arrest by plain-clothed Bergen County Police officers using an unmarked minivan.”

Jones added that the May 31 dust-up “occurred against the backdrop of three reports of police imposters wearing tactical vests performing armed robberies and carjackings in North Jersey using unmarked vehicles.”

He also said: “We have contacted Bergen County and both agencies are looking into the interaction.”

According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the incident, the trooper approached the Dodge Caravan — which was equipped with police strobes — on the southbound shoulder of the Turnpike near the George Washington Bridge 11 days ago.

Approaching the vehicle, the trooper — who is assigned to the Newark barracks — reported spotting a man wearing a tactical vest and no visible badge outside the van, the sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

The trooper reported that he held his weapon to his side for caution and ordered the man to show ID.

The officer complied — displaying Bergen County PD identification — but not before words were exchanged, the sources said.

The trooper then called in the report.

“Now you can get the f*** out of here,” the cop — identified by sources as BCPD Officer Robert Duboue — allegedly said to the trooper after calling in his own report.

The trooper allegedly replied: “I’m not leaving….I work here and will leave when the f*** I want.”

The argument continued, with Duboue allegedly backing the trooper to the guard rail, the sources said.

The two “went chest-to-chest and face-to-face,” one of them told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

A BCPD officer identified by sources as Sgt. Gabriel Escobar then showed up and allegedly joined Duboue in berating the trooper, who told them of the impersonating incidents, the sources said.

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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