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Bergen Prosecutor's Captain Oversees Wyckoff Police During Profiling Probe

Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox
Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT file photo

WYCKOFF, N.J. -- A captain with the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office was appointed temporary monitor of the Wyckoff Police Department while investigators from the state Attorney General's Office investigate an email Chief Benjamin Fox wrote to his department that they said appears to advocate racial profiling.

Lt. Charles VanDyk, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, will serve as acting officer in charge of the department.

The monitor, BCPO Capt. Timothy Condon, was appointed under a Memorandum of Agreement between the prosecutor's office and the borough.

He has 23 years of law enforcement experience involving a host of major cases -- including the infamous James Bond Gang of burglars from Teaneck and Englewood.

Condon also served as monitor of the Hackensack Police Department after misconduct and insurance fraud charges were brought againt former Chief Ken Zisa, Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal and Wyckoff Mayor Kevin J. Rooney noted in a joint release.

Fox will remain on administrative leave during the investigation, authorities said.

In his December 2014 email, leaked to and released by the ACLU-NJ, Fox says: “Profiling, racial or otherwise, has it’s (sic) place in law enforcement when used correctly and applied fairly.

"Don’t ask police to ignore what we know," it says. "Black gang members from Teaneck commit burglaries in Wyckoff. That’s why we check out suspicious black people in white neighborhoods.”

The American Civil Liberties Union-New Jersey demanded that authorities fire Fox, retrain officers and conduct audits for "both racially biased policing and use of force."

Condon will oversee "all major policy decisions" and "ensure the orderly administration" of law enforcement by the department during the investigation, the memorandum states.

He will contribute to the probe and make sure that all officers in the department are operating under "all policies and directives" issued by the Attorney General.

The prosecutor appointed Condon “in the interest of allowing the police department to function to its fullest capabilities while ensuring the best interests of all Wyckoff residents,” Rooney said Friday afternoon.

“While I am confident that our police department has never engaged in or condoned any sort of profiling, it also is important to reinforce and ensure the public trust,” he added. “I have no doubt that our police officers will continue to operate with the utmost respect for all those whom they have sworn to protect.”

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