Yes. Per agency policy and Attorney General Guidelines, the South Orange Police Department is able to utilize several options based on the severity of the offense. The ultimate goal is to prevent further offenses by the juvenile and divert them from the adult criminal justice system. One approach is known as, “curb-side-adjustment.” A curb-side-adjustment is employed when a juvenile offender has committed a low level offense (e.g. shoplifting a candy bar). On scene, an officer contacts a parent or guardian of the juvenile offender, has them respond to scene of the incident and take custody of their child.
For more serious offenses where the juvenile is taken in to custody, the Juvenile Aid Bureau (detectives within SOPD) may utilize a “station-house adjustment.” During a station-house adjustment charges are not immediately filed against the juvenile. The station-house adjustment is an agreement between the police, the victim, the juvenile, and the parent. For example, the agreement may have the juvenile perform community service in lieu of having the charges filed. These programs redirect juveniles out of the criminal justice system while still holding them accountable for their actions.
In cases where a juvenile has committed a serious offense, which would be considered to be felony crimes were they committed by an adult (e.g. robbery), the South Orange Police Department is required to forward the matter to the Essex County Court system for handling.