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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    Testing the Thin Blue Line


Police and
Law Enforcement News





Testing the
Thin Blue Line
Police and Law Enforcement News
Sunday, September 12
, 2010 11:50 p.m.

In an editorial we published last May, Get Laid Off Officers Back to Work, we addressed the hypothetical of mass layoffs. 

It's no longer a hypothetical: it's a reality and it's a bloodbath.


As of September, there are more than one hundred New Jersey law officers on the laid off list, and the list continues to grow every week.  If not for a lot of very blue blooded police chiefs and agency heads, the number would be much higher.

Between Newark, Camden, and Trenton, more than 300 officers may be added to the total number in just a matter of days.  Throw in Hoboken, Vineland, Lambertville, Rutherford, Ewing, Morris County, Little Egg Harbor, Atlantic City, Fair Lawn, Mount Laurel, and Hightstown who are all fighting potential layoffs, and the number goes even higher 

It's nice, perhaps convenient, to pretend that these officers are all brandy new, twenty-something's still living with their parents and flush with other opportunities. 

Unfortunately, that's just not the case.   These are men and women you just sat next to in breathalyzer refresher, passed at your most recent range qualification, or stood shoulder to shoulder with at the last funeral.  They have kids and mortgages and car payments.

Guys, this is not a joke.  These are our brothers and sisters, and they are in real deep trouble. 

We - those still fortunate enough to have jobs - need to take more ownership of this problem.  We need to do more.  We need to throw ropes to as many as possible.


We need to ask why in God's name are there still recruits in police academies while children of laid off cops are without health insurance.

We need to ask why there are recruits in police academies while laid off officers are filing for public assistance.

We need to do more!

FOP and  PBA lodges and locals can establish monthly stipends to help  laid off officers from their department on the local level. Any amount would help.  How about individual agencies hiring laid off officers back per diem and everyone agree to allow them first bid at all road jobs and security details?  What about a statewide monthly event where departments that are hiring can be brought together with laid off but fully trained officers for immediate initial interviews?  How about setting up a bimonthly jobs fair and inviting agencies from out of state who are still hiring?  Perhaps agencies that have laid off officers can assign a lieutenant or captain to actively assist them in finding new jobs?

We have plenty of smart guys within our ranks who could come up with even better ideas.

There is more we should be doing.

This is what the thin blue line does.   This is what makes us the thin blue line.  This is what attracts tens of thousands to our profession.

If something doesn't change and change soon, many of these officers will never work in law enforcement again.  Between permanent manpower reductions in some departments and expiring police academy certifications, many will have to rebuild in a different industry or even a different state.

History will judge us by how we help these officers.  This is where we define ourselves and our unity to one and other.

So, after reading this, what are you going to do?

Here are some suggestions:

Sign up for membership with the New Jersey based Loyal Order of Police.  Created by laid off officer Jim Racanelli, this organization is working on issues related to laid off officers.  Membership is free, and the more members they have the more clout they wield so please sign up. 

If your agency is not hiring laid off officers, do something about it!  Whether personally or through your union, approach your agency head and get them on board.

Read this piece at the next meeting of your union and/or fraternal organization.  This issue needs to be on everyone's radar.

Forward the link to this editorial to every officer in your address book asking for their support.

Chiefs and agency heads, please look at laid off officers first.

These guys are dying out there, and more will be joining them soon. 

We need to do more!




Share your Thoughts on This Editorial

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group, or that are just beyond reason.  Letters will be reviewed and posted each day. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission. 



Your Comments

The State should suspend all academy classes until each laid off officer has a job, and civil service departments should stop hiring untrained officers that require academy training until things improve.

However, other than getting an experienced officer, some agencies may be reluctant to hire a laid off officer, since they could leave to return to their original agency.  The dept. that rescued the laid off officer will have spent a good amount of time or money on mandatory pre-hire things such as physical, psych test, background, field training, and equipment.  All that for trying to do the right thing.

Perhaps "rescuing" departments can lock laid off officers into serving with them for a minimum amount of time, or hold them liable for reimbursement of the above costs in the event they return to their original agency.

This is odd coming from me a recruit who just graduated from the academy ( alternate route) and second generation in law enforcement but here's an idea.  The state needs to stop the alternate routes or limit them for 1 or two cycles and put a cap on it.  My recruit class had 23 alternate routes.  1 was hired. 4 paid guys where laid off.  And already the academy is sending another 23 through, while 3 other academies I know are doing the same.

Why are guys getting certified and academies are taking the money just to keep money in for themselves. Another words its a business to keep academy staff on the payroll.  In all honesty its a joke.  Civil service towns sending people through academies wasting money while civil service employees Cops are with out jobs.  It is a disgrace.

This is truly a very unfortunate situation. This is basically the perfect storm right now against law enforcement. The Gov, and all the politicians need to blame someone and the employees are taking the blame and not doing much about it. It is about time that the State PBA and FOP garner support against what is going on and going public and exposing the lies told by the politicians. Perhaps if the cops advertized that their pension funds were stolen (Yes stolen, taken and not given back) by politicians perhaps public opinion would be swayed into believing that the pension is not "underfunded" and maybe we can be left alone for a while. The teachers and the political schemes are what are doing this state in, not the cops. Stand up and be heard before its too late!

This is a great article, just like the last.  Why isn't there more being done and why aren't more people joining that organization to help each other?

I have already joined and urge you to join.  These guys really care!! 

I agree we need to do more! This used to be a job that everyone wanted, it is/sickening to see know one doing nothing about all these layoffs.. disgusting!

One thing that needs to be done is to stop the alt. route program. I heard the PBA was looking into this but I haven't heard anything recently.





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