Prosecutor Bans Cops From Asking Citizens To Tell Them If They Have Coronavirus

Holly Matkin

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said that the requests were “totally inappropriate and therefore banned."

Bergen County, NJ – The Bergen County prosecutor has banned police from being able to ask COVID-19 patients to post signs outside their homes regarding their positive coronavirus status.

Bergen County has racked up more COVID-19 cases than any other county in the state of New Jersey as of Thursday, NJ.com reported.

In an effort to help better protect first responders, several law enforcement agencies within the county began asking residents who tested positive for COVID-19 “to self-identify when seeking police assistance and/or to post notices on their residences,” Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella wrote in a directive on March 28.

The prosecutor declared that the law enforcement agencies’ requests were “totally inappropriate and therefore banned,” according to NJ.com.

“Several of our law enforcement agencies have, without authorization by the [Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office], gone beyond the guidelines,” Musella said. “Asking COVID-19 positive/quarantined individuals to self-identify that status when they seek police assistance may discourage those [with coronavirus] from seeking police assistance when they need it, thus endangering them, their families and the general public.”

Musella said that police can use other resources to obtain the names and address of local residents who test positive for COVID-19, The Record reported.

He also ordered that local law enforcement agencies immediately remove any social media postings they had made regarding such requests.

Police said that they had requested citizens notify them about their positive coronavirus status on a voluntary basis.

“It was just a measure of safety to protect the officers and the EMS workers that may be coming to the house, that’s all,” Saddle River Police Chief Jason Cosgriff told The Record. “We’re just trying to work through a pandemic, and this is the first global pandemic I’ve ever worked through.”

“Everybody’s trying to do the right thing here,” Glen Rock Police Chief Dean Ackermann echoed. “We’re in uncharted territory, and we’re building a response program as we drive.”

Musella argued that first responders should operate under the assumption that everyone they come into contact with has been infected by the novel coronavirus, especially considering the fact that many people are asymptomatic or haven’t been tested, The Record reported.

Comments (74)
No. 1-40
ikaika
ikaika

These assholes are making me sick. Do they lie in bed at night and think of ways to make the jobs of first responders more difficult and dangerous than they already are? Mr. Prosecutor needs to go on a few ridealongs, especially in these times.

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

"Inappropriate" is an opinion of the Prosecutor - not a violation of criminal law or civil rights. Further, since when does the Prosecutor provide oversight and operational mandates to the LE Agencies? Most of these Prosecutors cannot do their own job adequately. Some Police Chief needs to tell Musella to FO. His department is not run by committee.

reverett456117502
reverett456117502

I'll bet I'd listen to a Prosecutor!!!! Ha Ha try again "ELECTED" official, you're not the one dealing with people in the trenches. Take off your tie and suit, then you can tell me what to do! In other words, STAY IN YOUR LANE!

2 Replies

reverett456117502
reverett456117502

Still I wouldn't listen to an "Appointed" Prosecutor regardless! Elected, appointed or crowned, STAY IN YOUR LANE PAL!

Jjazmin167
Jjazmin167

....hmm, then again we should go on the assumption that all folks law enforcement come in contact with, is/was contaminated with the virus and should be presumptuously precautious.

It's a violation of HIPPA to ask any questions related to someone's medical history, which includes being infected with the coronavirus. so I'm not surprised at this politician's approach to it, however how he says' "it's just wrong", is not the most political way of saying it I guess....

TCSO7801
TCSO7801

According to Musella there are other ways to find out.... bet the twit has no idea that Fire/EMS operate with HIPAA restrictions. Also bet no one is allowed to enter his office without being asked if they have the Corona virus.....double standard. Stick to law and leave medical to responders and physicians. Any wonder why NJ has so many asinine laws.

cspcapt
cspcapt

No problem treat all encounters, including with him as well as if they have the virus. No contact, isolation, call for medical until they determine they do not have the virus!

XIHP308
XIHP308

Article say's it was on a voluntary basis.
Where does it state a prosecutor has the authority to make up this crap. So officers don't enter a residence or business treat everyone as if they are infected.

Racechaser6
Racechaser6

The prosecutor should be held responsible for any deaths of first responders because of his stupidity.

LynnSB
LynnSB

Such bullshit, it doesn’t really even matter if you ask them people why and some people don’t even know they’re infected dumb ass to keep his nose in his office and shut the hell up

BAH330
BAH330

I’d tell this “prosecutor” to go fuck himself. Prosecutors don’t set police policy

Dfc3166
Dfc3166

This doesn't surprise me, most of these prosecutors haven't got a lick of commonsense anyways. Screw you, I'd ask anyways, and let the issue be settled later by a higher up. These aren't normal times, I don't suppose any first responders are suppose to ask about a persons symtoms, or if their are being seen or treated for the virus. I'm not suppose to ask if you have an weapons on you that I need to be worried about. Nope, not suppose to be worried or aware of any of those things. Screw you, you sit on your fat ass POS prosecutor, you go do the front line jobs and see what you do to try to protect yourself. I know you won't, you're all the same!

widbill45acp
widbill45acp

All prosecutors should be required to do scheduled ride-a-longs so they have a pony in the race. They sacrifice the lives of first responders to score points for the next election. These sleaze bags have no conscience, no morals, and see the world through the lens implanted by our Socialist education system. There is no cure, like the viruses that destroys whoever it can.

widbill45acp
widbill45acp

Have you ever noticed that states like New Jersey who hate and try to ban guns, hate cops and want to ban them, have super high gang murder rates amongst others, super high corruption and organized crime, have the gull to do things such as this! No one will ever remember their names, they are like a virus, once gone, their memory is gone as well.

The express
The express

Just another asshole with a little power that doesn't know when to shut the f up. It's out of his jurisdiction.POS liberal

Stanracer
Stanracer

Idiot liberal being an idiot liberal. Dumbass!

GForce48
GForce48

Apparently this guy has no clue what it involves to be a police office! Police Chiefs need to tell this clown to pound salt and get the hell out of the way! By the way, this is not the first global pandemic in recent times! The aids global pandemic is still listed as ongoing!

538 central K
538 central K

Fuck him. Ill ask.

Vinman505
Vinman505

Question: why and how is a prosecutor ordering a police agency to cease and desist. He isn’t the attorney general? Law enforcement have their own policies and procedures
And he should be told to pack sand.

Woodbadgeowl
Woodbadgeowl

This prosecutor is an idiot. He had better hope he never has to dial 911. Safety should be the foremost concern.

DaisyMae92
DaisyMae92

You just can’t fix Stupid.

FSchloss
FSchloss

I realize that New Jersey isn't part of the United States anymore, but nonetheless, the DA can order his investigators to do whatever he dreams up. But, unless he runs the police department, he can babble all he wants. It's meaningless.

Wolfman2253
Wolfman2253

Then little mister prosecutor can leave the confines of his office and armor up and go handle call for service

JCRPI
JCRPI

I might have missed it somewhere but why haven't the heads of the law enforcement agencies that file their cases with this jerk's office just told him to stay the Hell out of their business.

Ronbwolf
Ronbwolf

Take your opinion Mr. Prosecutor, write it on a piece of sandpaper, and shove it up your Musella!

DR226
DR226

Can't enforce it, dumb fuck, unless enacted as a law or written into job specs and signed off on by unions.

Viking24
Viking24

The prosecutor has absolutely no legal right to ban the departments from asking citizens to voluntarily post the signs. He’s a liberal fool.

fatdaddy50
fatdaddy50

All first responders should assume everyone who they have contact with has a communical disease.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Different COVID-19 topic...

I've noticed that the COVID map here

Has dots everywhere and is starting to look exactly like the the US population map here

To me, that means that it has already spread everywhere.

BigDave123
BigDave123

It’s a logical life saving question. The prosecutor can go home and hide.

Cstuartsr
Cstuartsr

What’s it to the prosecutor if First Responders ask if they have the Coronavirus? These people somehow needs to be identified if responders are responding to there house. A prime example where people are sticking there noses into something where it has no business!!

DRTice
DRTice

Screw that dickhead. You guys go ahead and do what is safe for you and your family's.

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

Next thing you know he will outlaw asking if they have a gun.

Homicidecop
Homicidecop

Put this asshole in a scout car and let this fuckturd do a 3-11 shift with some uniform cops and see if he doesn't change his mind. Where do they find these asshats

2ezas
2ezas

Good , don’t respond to calls for help. Call the prosecutor to come and give the all clear 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️😷😷

Lezwil
Lezwil

I'm pro LEO, but I have to agree. Dispatchers should be getting that information and relaying it to the officers or paramedics. It doesn't need to be posted for the world to see. If they are trying to stop dispatchers from screening that information then that is definitely wrong.

steveyoung7098
steveyoung7098

This guy is an elected official. The only way to get rid of him is for the police department to make arrests only when necessary. When the police stop being proactive, crime will go up and the blame will fall on the prosecutor. Then come election time, it will be time to elect another prosecutor.

ETWZ
ETWZ

Ok boys and girls..... here's what HIPPA says.. pay attention to bullet number one.

Under what circumstances may a HIPAA covered
entity disclose PHI to law enforcement?
A HIPAA covered entity may disclose PHI to law
enforcement with the individual’s signed HIPAA
authorization.
A HIPAA covered entity also may disclose PHI to law
enforcement without the individual’s signed HIPAA
authorization in certain incidents, including:
• To report PHI to a law enforcement official reasonably
able to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat
to the health or safety of an individual or the public.
• To report PHI that the covered entity in good faith
believes to be evidence of a crime that occurred on the
premises of the covered entity.
• To alert law enforcement to the death of the individual,
when there is a suspicion that death resulted from
criminal conduct.
• When responding to an off-site medical emergency, as
necessary to alert law enforcement to criminal activity.
• To report PHI to law enforcement when required by law
to do so (such as reporting gunshots or stab wounds).
• To comply with a court order or court-ordered warrant, a
subpoena or summons issued by a judicial officer, or an
administrative request from a law enforcement official
(the administrative request must include a written
statement that the information requested is relevant and
material, specific and limited in scope, and de-identified
information cannot be used).
• To respond to a request for PHI for purposes of
identifying or locating a suspect, fugitive, material
witness or missing person, but the information must be
limited to basic demographic and health information
about the person.
• To respond to a request for PHI about an adult victim of a
crime when the victim agrees (or in limited circumstances
if the individual is unable to agree). Child abuse or
neglect may be reported, without a parent’s agreement,
to any law enforcement official authorized by law to
receive such reports.
For More Information
This is a summary of the relevant provisions and does not
include all requirements that are found in the HIPAA
Privacy Rule. For complete information, please visit the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office for
Civil Rights HIPAA web site at

Trefflek
Trefflek

Definition of liberal in dictionary “mentally retarded”

Beantwn96
Beantwn96

Since when does the DA tell the PDs how to run their agencies? Sounds like this jerk is over stepping..HIPPA has nothing to do with asking people who call for police, EMS or FD responce to their homes, if they or anyone in their home has or is showing signs of Coronavirus..All these Depts need to do is have their dispatchers tell callers that due to recent pandemic and in order to protect our first responders we'd like to know if you or anyone in your household has or is showing any signs of Covid19? And ask all callers if they would step outside & meet officers when they get there...Most callers will understand and be forthcoming without a 2nd thought.

Copnurse
Copnurse

Absolutely ridiculous coming from someone who was on the job and is actively working as an RN (myself) dealing with this threat everyday. Wonder if this poor excuse for a prosecutor would feel the same way if his son or daughter was on the frontline battling this enemy. He must be an ignorant liberal democrat. Grow some balls!!!!


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