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