PLAINSBORO — Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that he was not involved in the decision to transfer 10 State Police commanders amid an investigation into allegations that an Atlantic City-bound caravan of luxury sports cars received an unauthorized, high-speed police escort down the Garden State Parkway.
Christie said that he has full confidence that Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes will get to the bottom of the escorts and fix any problems, but that he wouldn’t insert himself into the investigation.
“I believe the attorney general will handle this in a completely appropriate way, both retroactively and prospectively,” Christie said during a news conference in Plainsboro, Middlesex County. “I don’t think it helps to have me going off the deep end on something when they’re still in the process of gathering information and making their judgments.”
Christie said he hasn’t been shown the policy governing trooper escorts, which has been requested by media outlets since the Star-Ledger of Newark first reported on a trooper-escorted caravan of high-end private sports cars speeding south on the Garden State Parkway on March 30. Nor, he said, would he insist that the policy be released now.
A similar caravan escort in 2010 is also under investigation. The governor said State Police are looking into whether other escorts have occurred.
Fuentes has said State Police provide escorts fairly regularly to visiting dignitaries, for funerals and for other unspecified occasions. The agency has not been clear about who approves escort requests and what the guidelines are.
Asked whether the public has the right to know what the State Police escort policies are, Christie said: “The public has the right to know whether those policies are being enforced first and foremost, and I believe the attorney general and superintendent are going to have to answer to that.”
State Police Lt. Steve Jones confirmed the trooper transfers Monday and said most of the reassignments were in the northern part of the state, where the Atlantic City-bound caravan — including a car driven by two-time Super Bowl champion Brandon Jacobs, a former New York Giant — began. State Police haven’t said how many of the transfers, ordered by Fuentes, are directly related to the escort probe.
Christie repeated an earlier comment that the escorts were “dumb,” then defended the remark for which he has been criticized as being flip.
“It would have graduated much beyond dumb if someone had gotten hurt,” he said. “No one did, thankfully.”
Two troopers have been suspended in the ongoing investigation.
The probe involves at least two instances in which troopers escorted caravans of private luxury sports cars up and down busy toll roads at excessive speeds.
An amateur video of the earlier incident shows a trooper pulling over a motorist as the State Police-led caravan speeds by.