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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The police lieutenant in charge of handling domestic violence and school matters used a city-owned cell phone to stalk and harass a young woman, sending her lewd pictures taken at police headquarters.
Text messages reviewed by New Brunswick Today show Lt. Raymond Trigg admitting to calling the woman 43 times in a single day. The lieutenant also sent images to the woman showing himself in his underwear and in the nude, including at least one shot of his penis.
Several inside sources say Trigg has a reputation for being a “womanizer” who preys on young women, sometimes getting them drunk in his second-floor office at New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) headquarters.
A recent Internal Affairs (IA) investigation into Trigg’s behavior with the woman—who works for the city—was “not sustained” despite evidence Trigg sent the nude photos to the woman using his department-issued cell phone, and disturbing text message conversations that paint a picture of a toxic, predatory veteran police officer.
Despite the “Not Sustained” determination, Trigg still faced some kind of a mysterious reprimand over “collateral issues” identified in the woman’s complaint.
Having served in the NBPD since 1994, Trigg earns a $139,288 annual salary, plus overtime and extra-duty. He also works for Rutgers University and Middlesex County College as a part-time lecturer, and is married to a employee of the New Brunswick public school district.
Trigg also has deep ties to the city school system, having run its “D.A.R.E” and “G.R.E.A.T” programs, and supervising the police department’s presence in the public schools.
According to the Rutgers website, Trigg “has reached over 15,000 kids with the message of being drug free and gang free.”
It’s unclear whether the reprimand would involve Trigg leaving his position as Commander of the Community Outreach Bureau, which involves overseeing the NBPD’s Domestic Violence Unit and Response Team.
“my feelings right now are crazy…..I have not heard from you all day,” Trigg wrote to the woman, before tallying 43 calls and 14 text messages that he made to one of his victims.
“I even stopped by your house twice and knocked on the door,” he continued.
The number matches a phone that Trigg himself still answers.
Reached by phone on June 20, Trigg declined to address the text messages.
“Why are you doing this Charlie? Why aren’t you calling the Police Department?” asked Trigg, directing New Brunswick Today instead to the department’s Public Information Officer, Captain JT Miller.
Miller responded: “The New Brunswick Police Department was made aware of the allegations this past April and immediately commenced an internal investigation in conjunction with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.”
“At the conclusion of the investigation it was determined that there was no evidence to support criminal charges, however Lt. Trigg was found to be in violation of department policies and procedures, and was disciplined accordingly,” wrote Miller.
But Captain Miller refused to say which policies and procedures were violated and what discipline was given. The Captain also would not address whether or not any lewd pictures were part of the evidence.
“Details of internal affairs investigations are to remain confidential as per the New Jersey Attorney General’s Guidelines,” said Miller. “This includes specifics regarding policy violations, the degree of discipline and evidence examined during the investigation.”
Another chain of messages from earlier this year shows even more disturbing behavior from Trigg, who once again used the department’s cell phone to communicate with the woman.
After the woman moved and didn’t tell Trigg her new address, he allegedly hunted her down, engaging in surveillance and unannounced visits.
“I would come by but i dont know where you [live],” Trigg wrote her using the NBPD’s phone on January 17 at 8:14pm.
“And for good reason,” the woman responded at 8:32pm.
“girl I’m outside your house,” Trigg texted her just two minutes later.
While the woman hid, Trigg asked her three times to open the door before complaining “it’s cold out here” and sending a final message before departing at 10:15pm: “I just froze to death on your porch bye felicia.”
Captain Christopher Goldeski was the NBPD’s representative at the June 17 City Council meeting, but he had little to say about internal matters, confirming only that officers are issued cell phones that can be used for both personal and department business.
“It’s their phone so they can use it for personal business,” Goldeski said initially, but when asked if it was okay for officers to use the phones to send pictures of their genitals to others, he confirmed that was not allowed.
“I would hope no,” said Council President John Anderson, who quickly brought an end to this reporter’s public comments at the meeting just as the revelations were beginning to spill into the public record. Video of the public comment section of the meeting has not yet been posted on the city website, but audio is available on New Brunswick Today’s Facebook page. So far, only “Part 1” of the Council meeting was posted, an unprecedented deviation from the normal practice.
After being presented with the texts allegedly sent by Trigg, Council President Anderson responded: “I am sure whatever needs to be done has, is being or will be investigated fully by the NBPD and the Prosecutors Office.”
“I certainly would need more information about the texts (and anything else) to make any thoughtful decision on the allegations being presented, so I will not jump to any conclusions.”
The other four members of City Council have not responded to multiple requests for comment.
The allegations against Trigg could take on a new importance as rumors swirl that he is being considered by the Board of Education as a replacement for ousted Security Director Peter Mangarella.
All nine Board of Education members failed to respond to a request for comment about the issues surrounding Trigg.
Domestic violence reports released by the State Police show that harassment and assault are overwhelmingly the most common domestic violence offenses in New Jersey.
Sources say there is ample evidence in the IA file that shows persistent harassment of a sexual nature and behavior consistent with stalking.
Lt. Amish Shah and Captain Miller himself conducted interviews related to the case, and were given evidence of the explicit and troubling text and picture messages sent from the taxpayer-funded phone.
The department’s track record on women’s issues is historically poor. Two NBPD officers were imprisoned for running brothels twenty years ago, and city police killed a sex worker in the 1990’s in one of at least three fatal shootings.
Just a handful of officers on the force are female, and the leadership of the department is all male. As we have previously reported, Trigg is fifth on the list of the 125 highest-paid city workers, all of whom are men.
The department has not undertaken even the most basic reforms such as mandating body-worn cameras, and the Police Director Anthony Caputo is notoriously elusive and has not attended a City Council meeting in over a decade.
The wishy-washy response to the serious allegations is just the latest example of the failed system, and it comes at a moment when police departments in New Jersey finally seem poised to make changes to the secretive Internal Affairs process.
On June 15, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal ordered police departments to start naming officers who are fired, demoted or suspended for more than five days as a result of internal proceedings.
NBPD brass has previously attempted to avoid acknowledging the demotion of one lieutenant on the force, refusing to name him even though it’s painfully obvious that the officer is William Oels III, who is now a sergeant.
But the reform only requires this information be published once per year, and only on a going forward basis, meaning departments like NBPD can keep secret prior misbehavior that led to major discipline.
The case in question would remain completely sealed, so long as Trigg doesn’t face “major discipline,” a standard that previously meant a termination, demotion, or suspension of 10 days or longer. The standard now includes suspension of 5 days or longer, and requires departments to name the offender.
Even with the modicum of transparency provided under the directive, the evidence, statements and details of each case would still remain secret, and departments won’t have to name officers if they face punishment less than a 5-day suspension.
At a June 17 City Council meeting, no police leaders or Council members were able to respond to questions about when the NBPD might disclose its past history of officers who faced major discipline.
“I don’t have any information on that. I’ll forward the questions to Captain [JT] Miller,” said Captain Goldeski.
Miller has not yet addressed the department’s plan for complying with the Grewal’s directive, but he did acknowledge that this explosive matter was not the first time Trigg had been investigated by his Internal Affairs unit.
Trigg was also investigated in 2016 after a rumor suggested he “had consumed an alcoholic beverage at police headquarters.”
“The New Brunswick Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit takes all complaints of misconduct seriously, even rumors that suggest misconduct,” said Miller. “The Internal Affairs Unit initiated its own investigation… identified the source of the rumor and confirmed that there was no truth to the allegation of alcohol consumption by Lt. Trigg at police headquarters.”
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.