MCPO Hosts Virtual Community Forum on Extreme Risk Protective Orders

Published on December 03, 2021

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office hosted a virtual community forum to educate the public on Extreme Risk Protective Orders on November 30, 2021. The goal of this program was to help educate the public on policies surrounding the Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) Act and how to file an ERPO.

Hosted by Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, the forum’s panelists were Morris County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Smith, and Montville Police Chief Andrew Caggiano. Also in attendance was First Assistant Prosecutor Maggie Calderwood and Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Patrick LaGuerre.

CAP Smith explained the ERPO Act authorizes New Jersey Courts to issue gun violence protective orders against individuals who pose a significant risk of bodily injury to self or others by possessing or purchasing a firearm. An ERPO prohibits the person from possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition and from holding any firearms identification cards or permits. When appropriate, a search warrant to seize weapons based on probable cause may be issued by a judge. An ERPO petition may be filed by a “family or household member,” or a law enforcement officer. At a hearing the court will consider the petition using a set of both situational and mental health factors outlined in the Act.

CAP Smith explained an ERPO differs from a domestic violence restraining order in so far as no criminal act is required for an ERPO, a law enforcement officer can file for an ERPO but not a Domestic Violence restraining order, and an ERPO can be sought to protect the subject from self-harm, not just in furtherance of the Domestic Violence victim’s well-being.

In New Jersey, 726 petitions have been filed for ERPO’s since the statute went into effect and 664 Temporary ERPO’s granted. In that same period, 445 FERPO’s have been applied for and 326 granted. In Morris County, there have been 22 TERPO’s applied for, and among those, 9 have become FERPO’s and 7 are pending final hearings.

Prosecutor Carroll said, “The ERPO Statute is an important tool in allowing both concerned family members and Law Enforcement Officers in seeking the removal of firearms from an individual who may be in crisis or subject to a disqualifying reason to possess firearms under New Jersey Law.  This type of statute provides a non-criminal investigatory intervention to seize weapons and curtail senseless tragedies when an individual poses a significant danger of bodily injury to themselves or others.”

Media inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Public Information Officer Meghan Knab at [email protected] or by phone at 973-829-8159. 


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