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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    Get Laid Off Officers Back to Work


Police and
Law Enforcement News

Get Laid off Officers
Back to Work
Police and Law Enforcement News
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
11:50 a.m.

The coupon in the mortgage payment book still remains attached to its stub and sits conspicuously on the counter in the kitchen just above the drawer where it is normally housed.  Unfortunately, the couponís due date is forty-two days past.  What began as a careful task of prioritizing which bills get paid and when they get paid has evolved into a rather cold reality: there is simply no money left. 

The early stages of this scenario have begun to play out for some within the New Jersey law enforcement community. 

Itís simple.  Times are tough, and they are going to get tougher.  Some are saying that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

And as unpalatable as this statement may be, there should not be a single recruit in a single academy while laid off officers are out of work.

A weak economy is being aggravated by the growing mortgage crisis.  New Jerseyans are taxed out, so increasing revenue is not an option.  The only alternative is to cut expenditures, and in some locations we will be one of those expenditures. 

Most on the job today Ė including this writer Ė havenít been on long enough to remember the wide-spread layoffs of the early 1980ís.  There have been sporadic job losses since then.  In the mid 1990ís the Hudson County Police Department was completely disbanded putting almost one hundred officers out of work.  In 2007, Perth Amboy laid off eight officers who eventually were hired back.

And there have been others too, but not on the scale of what may be coming.  Today is looking grim, very grim.  And, there is still much difficulty ahead.

Layoffs of sworn officers have been discussed or implemented in numerous locations throughout New Jersey including the Passaic County Sheriffs Department, South River, Lumberton, Hazlet, Passaic City, Franklin Borough, Hamilton, Runnemede, Atlantic City, Franklin Borough, Audubon, Passaic City and, most recently, Belvidere.

There are officers already out of work and, regretfully, more to follow.

Whether from a jail, a campus, or a city PD or a sheriffs department, these officers need to be picked up by other agencies: all of them.  

Despite the tough times, there are still plenty of departments that are hiring.  And as unpalatable as this statement may be, there should not be a single recruit in a single academy while laid off officers are out of work! 


As one officer emailed, it should be "mandatory for all police academies to put a freeze on classes until everyone that got laid off gets hired!"

We strongly urge that agencies anticipating openings begin their search with the laid off list.

As most know, New Jersey Department of Personnel hiring guidelines are greatly relaxed for officers who have been laid off from employment.  And, of course, agencies utilizing the New Jersey Chiefís of Police Association for entry level hiring operate under the own guidelines which often allow for hiring laid off officers.

Additionally, NJDOP agencies that expect vacancies can also help by signing up for inclusion on the Intergovernmental Transfer list.  This can be done right through the Department of Personnel.  Officers who are scheduled to be laid off are given forty-five days notice.  This is where the IGT list would be useful, before separation from employment.

This is no joke.  Today, it is some anonymous officer in a far off town.  Tomorrow, it could be you.  Let's help these guys.

Please post this piece in every police department, jail, and sheriffs office as a reminder that some of our brothers and sisters right here in New Jersey are facing very difficult times.

Hirings need to begin with the laid off list!

For more information on hiring laid off officers, use the links below:

New Jersey Department of Personnel
Intergovernmental Transfer List
State FOP
State PBA
Police and Law Enforcement News
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
11:50 a.m.

Share you 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 night. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission.  Use the scroll box below to submit your thoughts:



Your Responses

Where can I find more information about this Rice Bill? 

I am a new police chief in a Civil Service municipality and would be very interested in hiring laid off officers.  Unfortunately, there is very little information available about this process.  I checked the PBA, FOP & DOP websites and can't find anything.  Let me make a suggestion to those of you posting here: get the information out to the ones who WILL give you an opportunity- the police chiefs in this state. 

Some of you may not realize this, but we're cops too. 



Great email.  We are now in the process of putting together an article on the RICE bill which will detail the whole process and include contact names and numbers.  Thanks for the suggestion.

I am a Recruiter for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. We are hiring military, current and former officers and would like to have a class of 80-100 officers. I am an East Coast transplant and have enjoyed a great life here. If you are interested email me at and I will give you as much information as I can.

I was given authorization to do a two-day testing. Written, Oral, and Physical in one or two days depending on how many are interested.   Visit our website and fill out an pre-application please go to then log under IMPD and fill out the application and you will be able to test May 09th or May10th.  It is very important you put the code 21186 in the reference drop box. This will ensure you can test on those days. We offer great benefits including take home cars for all officers. This is another insensitive that a lot of City departments don't offer. Email me if you are interested!

I agree with all of you and it would be a great thing but your overlooking one thing. a rookie makes 25 to 35 for a couple years rehiring layoffs costs more then training a rookie and keeping him for five years. they hope that by the time he makes what you made the layoffs stop. making them take layoffs or nobody would just mean not enough cops. just like any job if u get laid off you cost too much on paper. I am not saying its nice but most things that need to be done in business are not nice.

Yes you are correct in stating all the laid off police officers need to get picked up by other agencies but you can't force them. Most of these departments don't want them, they have the people they want already. How can you force a police dept. to hire you if they don't want you. To the laid off officers out there it don't look good for some of you. In a perfect world that would be great, but that is fantasy land. Do you really think that a police chief, or LT. or captain of any department really cares about your plight? They only care about themselves and you are the least of their worries.

Sorry folks but that is the brutal truth. Good luck! 

Well, like everything else, it seems now that some of you are a year or six months or three months into your layoff, people are already losing interest and sensitivity to this controversial issue. 

Time heals everything, but not when the entire time it is you that is laid off.  Shame on these departments hiring and putting inexperienced people in the police academy while cops with twelve, ten, eight and other years on the job are sitting home trying to save their homes from foreclosure, their children from not having health insurance and keeping the lights on and food on the table.  What are you chiefs and others thinking trying to hire off the street or specials when cops who earned their way and proved themselves are sitting at home.  Maybe if it were you or your kid or the mayors kid, somebody would give a #$%^.   Shame, shame on you and shame on the PBA and FOP and Chiefs of Police Assoc. and the Latino American Officers, and African American Officers Associations and all the rest with the hooo rah bull##$@ they display on the surface. 

Why aren't you organizing fund raisers, rallies, getting to your legislatures to fix the loopholes in the Rice List?  I know one thing, I don't just talk the talk, I walk the walk and have helped many others when they needed me.  I guess we were only good enough to take our dues...  The transit workers union and the IBEW and teamsters would not let these injustices occur, because they know you today, maybe me tomorrow......  That is why they get good contracts, benefits and other perks or else they walk together.  They get the media in a frenzy and march with friends, family and coworkers in large rallies to show them they aren't laying down as a welcome mat.  They work hard and dedicate themselves and show they are needed.  Well aren't police officers needed?   You should all be ashamed of yourselves, stop talking and start acting. 

I was one of the officers referred to in the article. I was laid-off and it took me almost a year to get a job. Some departments that were good back then in terms of hiring laid-off guys. West Milford, Pompton Lakes, East Orange, Palisades Parkway PD. Most departments could care less that I was a laid-off cop and wouldn't even give me the courtesy of sending me a response to my resumes that I would hand deliver. Just remember who these people are when you do get a job and these bosses refer to you as "brother".

I have spoken to my Chief, not the same guy that hired me but still a very good guy and good cop. He is well aware of you guys but we are a small dept (less than 20) and no anticipated openings for another 2 years or so.

I think this article is great.  There are some departments trying to help, although there are more not assisting and trying to hire off the street.  The fact remains that everyone is under the misconception that under the Rice List we are first.  Not true!!! 

They need to write their legislatures and get that bill amended now to force departments to hire cops with training and experience without income and facing losing everything first.  Who can help?  Voices aren't heard alone, everyone must do a day in Blue maybe at the state house or something to gain recognition. 

We shouldn't be forced to do and submit the same applications as people off the street, we are already doing the job.  "United we stand, Departed we fall"  Where is the honor, respect and pride for your brother and sister officers in trouble.  All you hear is you have too much experience, you are too old, we can't start you with more money, and on and on and on....

The rice list would be great if it worked like everyone thinks it works.. All laid off officers accept investigators should get a job before anyone gets taken off civil service list... investigators got there jobs by who they know, take a test like the rest of us..



The reason many departments hire people with NO training and do not reach out to those who are PTC certified is simple. They don't want you and they don't care if your laid off. They have the people they want already picked. As far as sending new hires to the academy being a waste of money, remember when you first got hired and had NO experience. Was sending you to the academy a waste of money. It is very unfortunate that police are getting laid off but the truth is a police chief of a municipality who has a friend or relative getting ready to be hired is not going to give you the job over that person. Folks don't understand how hard it is getting a police job in the state of New Jersey.

In response to the person who stated your department or town should find you a job if they lay you off, how about they find you a job in fantasy land. It is very unfortunate that police are being laid off but that's life. IBM,General Motors,Ford,ETC laid off thousands of good people in the recent past. Now you know how a GM or FORD worker feels when his assembly plant gets closed because Americans are mostly buying foreign cars. The real reason that law enforcement is laying off currently is obvious, money!! How can you justify the police chief of a municipality getting a check for $400,000 when he retires for unused sick and vacation time, and police are getting laid off. A waste of tax payers money. NJ police are among the highest paid in the country and taxpayers are starting to notice these six figure salaries, pension, benefits ETC.  And yes "YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN". This is a cut throat business. For the young guy out there who completed the recent civil service test the pickins are slim. Unless you have a hook getting a police job is very difficult. As far as going out of state you won't make any money in police work. I know, been their done that. To those laid off or getting laid off I just hope most of you are vested for a pension.  Good luck.  

I am 22 years old and hoping to get hired and begin my career.  I thoroughly agree with the language and thoughts contemplated by this article.  I believe that it is the right thing to do.  Good Officers that have been laid off should be at the top of the list for those agencies that are hiring.

Ron Rice Bill does not apply to civil service officers who at no fault of there own, worked with a department for years without being sent to an academy, only to be laid off less then a year after the academy. Look it up.  In addition the DOP stated that if they received a letter from the Passaic County Sheriff, they would most likely make an exception for the officers and put them on a rehire list. But that never happened.   Apparently in Passaic County they would rather hire a pizza boy then rehire their own officers with years of experience.

Its called the Ron Rice Bill.  All you laid off guys, find a department that's hiring, and you go to the top of the list, what more do you want?  Look it up.

I agree, and if towns are hiring, they should start with laid off list! 

Well written editorial and an excellent point.

I am an Officer in one of the Departments making lay-offs.  Fortunately, I  am not one of them, but they are my Brothers and we are all going to fight tooth and nail for these 45 days to see that they stay here or are picked up elsewhere.

I am also one of the laid off officers from Passaic County Sheriff's Department.  It was basically came down to one thing, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN...  If you try to call the department for help, all you get is please hold why I transfer you.  The only advise my department gave me was to take the State Civil Service Test again.  What kind of advise is that. 

Don't be afraid to look at federal law enforcement jobs. You might find that your agency did you a favor by laying you off and giving you the opportunity to work for a federal agency.

Go out of state! There are plenty of jobs out of state. If NJ didn't tax people to death, have a corrupt government and greed fueled the system then maybe there wouldn't be this lay off problem. I grew up in NJ and got smart and moved out. I work as a LEO in northern VA making just as much as I would in NJ. I pay less in taxes and have job security since we have numerous vacancies through out the area. Its tough to be out of work and having debt over your head and not knowing how your going to take care of your family. Start looking outside of NJ, who knows how long the lay offs are going to be. One thing about the northern VA area, it takes me 3 hours to get to my house on the Shore to see my family and friends when I want to come up and visit. Not a bad ride at all and the majority of people I run into here are transplants from NJ and NY anyways.

Fully Certified Police officers at least have a chance of getting picked up.  When a corrections officer gets laid off there are not many places to go and most police departments wont pick up even the most experienced CO because NJ makes you take the whole academy over instead of just the classes we don't receive.

Should colleges stop holding classes because accountants and teachers are getting laid off?  Or should the trucking schools stop training people because Jevic just closed shop? 

It is a horrible situation, but I think it is being taken a little far not hiring anyone and closing the academy.  Public safety should be the last thing affected by the financial problems of this State, but it's quite obvious that some people's double dipping and 6 pensions are more important than the working man.  I really feel for you guys that are laid off and I hope that you find employment soon, but I can't say that I agree with the article above.  Every one experiences a tough round in their lives, but you personally have to make the decision whether you are going to throw in the towel or answer the bell.  Good luck guys and remember this nonsense when you place your votes.

As one of the officers laid off at the Passaic County Sheriffs Dept.  I will tell you that especially for a Corrections Officer who has been laid off it is especially hard to find a job.  So that everyone on this site knows....

For one year after your completion of a police academy, you are in a working test period.  So if you were hired as a civil service officer and were working as a CO for one or three or five years before you graduated the academy you are NOT PERMANENT. Therefore you do not hold the full rights of a Permanent officer.  You have to get permission to do IGTs from the DOP and do not have a lot of protections from layoffs.

In addition remember that Sheriff Investigators stay while you lose your job.  In fact three Investigators who never had to pass the Civil Service test graduated the night before at least 11 PTC certified COs were laid off. 

To top it off experience as a CO is not generally accepted as law enforcement experience. 

I agree, the fact that newbies are getting jobs while we in blue cant find employment because of no fault of our own is insane. These men and women served their cities with professionalism and what they get in return is a kick in the teeth. Come on now

Hands down these Officers should be picked up by other Dept's before they drop there gear from the one there at.  My buddy is getting the boot from a town in Sussex Co.  He's lucky enough to get picked up right away by another PD

Absolutely, your hired and if your town lays you off, they should find you a new dept, they caused the layoff, they should fix it.

The NJ Department of. Human Services Police has some openings for IGT's.

This idea of freezing academies is hypocritical to the whole basis of the editorial.  Here we are fighting for those that have been laid off and want to combat that by hindering thousands of future police officers from gaining employment.  The amount of employment generated from police academies far outweighs the amount of officers who have been laid off.  One suggestion would be, instead of waiting for a department to come to you, check which departments who are hiring, most are more than willing to accept fully certified transfers.  Don't get me wrong, this is unfortunate and absurd that we are cutting public safety personnel, but we should not, in turn, eliminate the opportunity of employment of future police officers.  There are other areas of government that should be decreased before we even think about police personnel.  The thin blue line is getting even thinner, hope things turn around fast!!!

In reference to the statement that no recruit should be in the police academy until the laid off officers are hired would you still say that if your son was about to be hired for the first time and sent to the police academy. The pickings are slim all over and police are lucky in the sense that we do not get laid off often. Far less then in other professions.

I agree also, agencies should not hire untrained officers until all laid officers are back to work.  Also, alternate route programs should be suspended until further notice.  I understand that getting jobs for alternate routes is not as easy in recent times.  It makes no sense to put new and inexperienced officers on the street, while trained and experienced ones are unemployed. 

Shame on our governments for cutting funds and positions from public safety, when they often spend additional tax money in less important areas.  The politicians responsible for these decisions need to be held accountable, and their actions must be remembered at re-election time.

Thank you.

I agree but let us not forget officers who are graduates of Police Academy Alternate Route Programs as well without jobs.  I know for a fact that many of US are out there without jobs searching the state for employment yet departments keep sending guys with NO training through the academy without ever contacting us.  That is a waste of tax money and man power!  A full certification list must be created to circulate to departments. 

The New Jersey State Park Police are taking Transfers!

I could not agree more! This unfortunate step must be taken immediately.

I must agree. The laid off should be given a chance before more money is wasted on training new officers!


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