Greetings. At the Department of Law and Public Safety, we have a unique role as both New Jersey’s lead law enforcement agency and its chief provider of legal representation to state government.
That is, we are a large, multi-faceted crime-fighting agency and a major law firm rolled into one.
Our essential mission includes making neighborhoods safer by combating drug dealing, gun violence, gang activity and other criminal threats.
It includes prosecuting public corruption and financial crime.
It includes preserving civil rights and protecting consumers and investors.
But the mission does not end there.
We license and regulate the alcoholic beverage industry. We ensure the integrity of New Jersey’s legalized casino gaming and horse racing industries. And we work to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians on our streets and roads.
We are responsible for the custody, care and post-custodial supervision of juvenile offenders.
We handle, literally, tens of thousands of litigation matters each year that protect children, safeguard the State’s financial assets, preserve our natural resources, ensure the integrity of elections and defend the actions of state government.
We assist crime victims, provide emergency management services, and work to protect our state from the threat of terror.
One of the nation’s most diverse and populous states, New Jersey also is a hub of national and international commerce, air travel and shipping. It is a center for manufacturing, education, health care, sports and entertainment. And it is a global vacation destination.
Against this backdrop, it is not hyperbole to suggest the work of our department touches the lives of millions of people daily.
At the Department of Law and Public Safety, we have an incredibly dedicated work force – a work force made up of civilian personnel and sworn law enforcement members that is guided by the highest standards of integrity, performance and public service.
Each day we work hard to improve the quality of life throughout our state, and each day we achieve results that make a difference.
Among our achievements on behalf of New Jersey citizens, we obtained more state grand jury indictments in 2014 and more accusations -- thereby charging more criminal defendants -- than in any year since 2009.
We seized illegal firearms, dismantled a violent international carjacking ring and prosecuted a number of previously-unsolved shootings and murders.
We brought dozens of corrupt public officials to justice, took down the leadership of a major organized crime family and recovered millions of dollars in taxpayer money stolen by thieves -- including dozens who absconded with money intended for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.
We also obtained litigation settlements and judgments on behalf of the State totaling more than $346 million -- a 14 percent increase over the amount recovered the previous year.
One of the most significant case resolutions in 2014 was the $190 million settlement with Occidental Chemical that resolved long-standing litigation over Occidental’s liability for contamination of the Passaic River.
We have continued to achieve important environmental litigation outcomes in 2015, including a historic, $225 million settlement with ExxonMobil – recently approved by the Court -- that resolves liability for damage to our precious natural resources caused by contamination from the company’s refinery operations in Bayonne and Linden, while maintaining ExxonMobil’s responsibility to fully clean up the site.
In 2015, we also continue to vigorously investigate, prosecute and jail criminal offenders for all manner of offenses, while tackling such complex problems as the heroin crisis through a blend of active enforcement and other measures -- including the equipping of State Troopers and local law enforcement members with a life-saving dose of the opiate antidote Narcan.
For a fuller view of our Department, its work and its people, I invite you to explore the Web sites of our various Divisions and Commissions, and to peruse the Department’s Annual Reports, which can be accessed by clicking on “OAG Library” on the OAG home page.
At the Department of Law and Public Safety we are proud of our accomplishments. However, we also recognize that the department’s mission is a continuum. The work is never really done, and there is always much more to accomplish.
With that in mind, we are working each day to address traditional public safety issues, identify and effectively address emerging crime trends and, above all, keep our state safe and secure. It is our privilege to serve the citizens of New Jersey.