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Editorial Archives

July, 2003    And a Cop Killer Goes Free - Guest Article by Contributor, Ptl. X

June, 2003   Makeup Promotional Exams

May, 2003   Joanne Chesimard    

March - April, 2003    Racial Profiling

February, 2003  Advertising on Patrol Cars

January, 2003, The 2002 Year in Review

December, 2002, Suicide in Law Enforcement 

November, 2002, Department of Corrections

October, 2002, Professional Courtesy

September, 2002, The Marketing of Law Enforcement

 


Makeup 

Promotional Exams

June, 2003

 

       Okay, let’s say that you’re scheduled to take a promotional exam next week. You load your books into your car and head off to work. Some dope on a cell phone whose not paying attention rear ends you at a light, and you are put into the hospital. Your injuries, while not life threatening, are enough to sideline you in a hospital bed for six days. You are unable to take the exam for which you have been preparing for five months. Should you be permitted to take a makeup exam?

       This is a very controversial subject right now. In fact, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided a case earlier this year addressing this very issue. The case arose from the 1997 sergeant’s exam, specifically from the Paterson Police Department. In In the Matter of Police Sergeant (PM3776V), the Court found that the makeup examination administered was in violation of the New Jersey State Constitution which requires a “fair and competitive examination.” This finding was based on the fact that the contents of the exam became common knowledge within the department after the initial exam was administered but before the makeup exam was administered. As you know, the makeup exam is administered after the actual exam, and the same exact exam is used. This practice has been criticized since officers often discuss and compare notes on their performance on the test in the days after. This is a problem because officers scheduled to take the makeup exam become privy to exam contents.

       Okay, according to the New Jersey Administrative Code 4A:4-2.9, make-up exams are permitted if one’s circumstances meet one or more of the following criteria:

1. Error by the Department of Personnel or Appointing Authority;

2. Serious illness or disability of the candidate on the examination date, provided the candidate submits a doctor’s certificate specifying that the candidate was not able to take the examination on that day for medical reasons;

3. Documented serious illness or death in the candidate’s immediate family;

4. Natural disaster;

5. Prior vacation or travel plans outside of New Jersey or any contiguous state, which cannot be reasonably changed, as evidenced by a sworn statement and relevant documentation; and

6. Other valid reasons.

       The policy for makeup exams was most certainly created with the best of intentions. It has benefited many who legitimately needed to utilize it. For example, after the terrorist attacks of September, 2001, the promotional exams were postponed but for everybody. In cases where one’s child or spouse in involved in a serious accident or suddenly stricken with a serious ailment, the officer is not forced to miss an opportunity for promotion. The list goes on, but there is another side to it.

       Many have expressed serious reservations about makeup exams. They feel that this process has been abused by some who purposely got excused from the initial exam in order to take it on a later date after getting feedback from friends who took the initial test. This would obviously give them a tremendous advantage. This tactic has resulted in hard-working officers who invested a great deal of time into preparing for the exam not being promoted while officers who took the makeup test did get promoted. This scenario is the exception rather than the rule. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that this is a widespread practice. By far, the majority of those who have taken makeup exams have done so legitimately. But, there has been abuse by some.

       The easy answer is to completely do away with the makeup examination. You either take the initial test, or you wait for three years until the next one. It’s the easy and obvious answer, but is it the right one?

        What happens if, God forbid, you or an immediate family member is involved in a serious accident on the day of the test? What if one of your parents becomes very seriously ill in the days before the exam, and you need to be with them in the hospital? A tremendous amount of hours are invested into preparation for the promotional exam, and the makeup policy allows you a second chance if a situation like one of these should arise.

       At best, the makeup exam policy should be reviewed and tightened. Incorporating tighter controls would not affect those legitimately seeking to take the makeup exam. For instance, in the case of a medical ailment, NJDOP could require a second opinion from a doctor of their choosing who is fully briefed as to the circumstances. Perhaps permission to take a makeup exam should not be given until after the initial exam, so the person applying for the makeup would be taking a serious gamble.

        Competing against each other on these exams is tough enough without some having an unfair advantage. What do you think?

NJLawman.com

Update  June 5, 2003

       NJDOP changed the makeup exam criteria.  Below are the new criteria issued in June, 2003.

1. Debilitating injury or illness requiring an extended convalescent period, provided the candidate submits a doctor’s certification containing a diagnosis and a statement clearly showing that the candidate’s physical condition precluded his/her participation in the examination;

2. Death in the candidate’s immediate family as evidenced by a copy of the death certificate;

3. A candidate’s wedding that cannot be reasonably changed as evidenced by relevant documentation. (Wedding plans that are made after the publication of this

Orientation Guide will not be considered valid for this examination.)

4. Error by the DOP or Appointing Authority.

 

Your Views

June 26, 2003

       "Being one of the 5  officers who pursued this case I can tell you that the current make up procedure just does not work. Any other profession has controls over their test taking procedure so why don't we? The procedure currently allows for anyone presenting a doctor's note to be given a make up exam. There are NO CHECKS, NO BALANCES, NO SECOND OPINIONS, NOTHING, that allows for a review of the doctor's opinion. And lets define debilitated. To me it's bedridden in a hospital, on life support but the DOP has other views, just ask them what their standard is cause we still do not know. Yes we must have a method of testing those who do have a legitimate excuse not to take it on the same day, but give them a separate test based on the same material. What is so hard about designing 2 tests, each with a question based on the same principle? It is either a Domestic Violence, assault, etc. case or it is not. You can test this area just as good with 2 different questions. I pursued this case and from the start stated that I would be willing to sit down and take a test with those taking a make up on a fair basis and let the new results stand. This was not to be the case. We now have another case that will soon be filed in regards to an overfilled lunchroom and too few monitors due to an "oversight" by the DOP. I wish those starting this new lawsuit luck in their pursuit yet I feel for those who took the test in that environment fairly and may be harmed due to the acts of others. To those who have given their all to their profession and to the promotional test I salute you. To those who have found ways to deceive and/or find alternate means to get promoted I wish you only that you get what you deserve. Pursue a fair testing procedure to ensure the safety of your towns, your families and yourself."

          -Anonymous

June 26, 2003

       "The idea of giving candidates identical make-up exams is ridicules. Just look at the results of those who took make-ups over the past several years. A high percentage of the candidates (who took make-ups) finished in the top 5%. Is this by accident? Does the DOP. really believe that it's just a coincidence that most candidates who take a make-up exam are more intelligent than those who took the exam legitimately? Everyone talks about the exam once its over, its human nature. The only fair things to do are have a completely different exam covering the same material, or eliminate the make-ups all together."

          -Anonymous

June 18, 2003

       "In some small towns in Bergen county, you just get promoted, no exam necessary!"

          -Anonymous

June 18, 2003

       "How could the supreme court justice write an opinion on make-ups when his firm represented the State PBA, he was not neutral and detached that appears to be a conflict to me in the recent Paterson case."

          -Anonymous

June 12, 2003

       "Careers have been made via make-up exams. It is sickening. The Supreme Court is right in their decision. The DOP must provide a test that is different than the initial. The DOP was under the opposite belief. They thought the NJ Constitution required that they administer the same test. The Supreme Court corrected that misconception. If anyone thinks that they are going to be screwed by a make-up test. It is absolutely imperative that they forward any evidence they have that the test was talked about, etc., prior to the make-up being administered.  That is why the Paterson officers were successful in their challenge of the make-up exam. That is also why Jersey City will be successful if a problem continues there. It is absolutely essential that a complaint and supporting info is forwarded to the DOP before the make-up is administered."

           -Anonymous

June 10, 2003

       "It is a shame that officers are stigmatized just because they take a make-up. Police officers are their worst enemy, you sign a pledge not to discuss the exam but officers do and then cry about it!  I agree a careful review should be done but don't penalize or say he she is less qualified because he or she took a make-up."

          -Anonymous

June 9, 2003

       "Our department will be facing this issue within a few weeks.   A patrol office has been deployed to the middle east and cannot be available to take the written of oral portion of the test.

       The department will make available a different test based on the same material. The only edge this officer will have is the fact that he has more time to study. But considering he is in Iraq, it might not be that big of a edge at all."

           -Anonymous

June 7, 2003

       "While I agree that abuse of the make up is the exception rather than the rule, I think the abuse is more widespread than you think. I think it is more evident in the larger city departments. The only way to stop it is to have two different tests. Different questions covering the same material. While 99% of test takers follow the rules you will always have that 1% getting ahead whichever way they can."

          -Anonymous

 

 

March - April, 2003

Racial Profiling

    We are a bunch of clowns.

    I cannot tell you how disgusted and disappointed I am in our collective lack of fight, never mind lack of interest in what affects us.

    On March 13, 2003 Governor McGreevey signed into law a bill that makes law enforcement officers subject to prison for a very poorly defined definition of racial profiling. It can be as high as a second degree crime. This statute is going to be disastrous for New Jersey law officers.

    We know that many African-American and Hispanic officers are reading this, and, please, bear with us. This issue has polarized enough people. We don’t need it to divide us too. It’s not that we support racial profiling. In fact, we completely and wholeheartedly oppose it. Such a practice is contrary to what living in America is suppose to be about. Our problem is not with the banning of racial profiling, it is with the way it was banned and the fact that despite the numerous organizations which collect dues from us to fund their “battle for the interests of law enforcement,” this bill sailed through our legislature and became a law while little was done to oppose it.

    On the surface a law criminalizing racial profiling might seem like a giant step in achieving true equality in the way that laws are enforced, a real breakthrough for civil rights. It is far from that. With the one officer that might be correctly sanctioned by this law, fifty, maybe a hundred, other good officers will have their names dragged through the mud. People sign frivolous complaints against law enforcement officers every day. It is part of the bad-guy playbook. Now, there is a new addition to the playbook. Just sign the cop up for racial profiling. Any complaint signed against an officer will most certainly be accompanied by the catch-all for screwing LEO’s second-degree Official Misconduct. Oh, and when they don’t think of it on their own, there is a shark-infested pool of bottom dwellers which collect retainer fees that will be there to encourage the filing of such charges. And, we’re not bashing  lawyers either. Most of them embrace ethical values. The ones we are referring to are, by far, the minority, but they are most certainly out there, and winning at all costs, even at the cost of an honest officer’s reputation, is part of their mission statement. (Don’t worry, we also have our own internal embarrassments)

    The first charges to be filed under this statute will most likely not be waged by the AG or a prosecutor's office.  They will most likely be responsible about applying this law.   No, instead it will be by some fellow who isn’t too thrilled about being arrested for Possession with Intent and who is looking for some leverage. The dopey cop defendant will have his or her picture not only in every New Jersey newspaper, but he or she will probably be featured on national networks as the “first case” filed in US history. Every so-called civil rights activist will undoubtedly and blindly jump on the bandwagon to wreck this officer’s reputation and life even further. The only thing that won’t matter will be whether there is any merit to the allegations against this officer. After the initial impact of this law subsides, officers’ names may only be featured in the local papers, and there is nothing in today’s world like being publicly accused of being racist. This is all aside from the wonderful experience the officer will have while standing in a courtroom of people staring at the racist cop. It will be aside from not being able to eat, feelings of depression, and being consumed by what may happen to him.  Oh, and the officer’s friends and family should also enjoy the experience immensely.

    And, how will this be prosecuted? Okay, on the surface it will be used to prosecute an officer who purposely goes after people based on their race. But really, how will this be determined? Many agencies now require officers to record and submit the ethnic background of the citizens that their officers stop. Will prosecution be based on these statistics? An Atlantic City cop assigned to a predominantly ethnic district will clearly be stopping mostly ethnic persons. What about the cop in parts of Sussex County? His or her statistics will show that the people he or she stops are mostly Caucasian. If this officer is a person of color himself, will he or she be prosecuted for targeting whites? While we’re the issue, may an officer be prosecuted under this statute for targeting his own race if the statistics support it? Could an officer of color ever be prosecuted for targeting whites or an ethnic group aside from his based on the statistics or if a complaint is lodged against him or her?  This list goes on.

    For God’s sake, the statute even includes age, gender, religion, handicap, and sexual orientation! This is friggin political correctness run amuck! Where do we draw the line? Are we going to ask motorists for their religion and sexual orientation so we can accurately keep track of the statistics? Could you imagine that? “And sir, here is your ticket. Oh, one more thing. May I ask if you are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Middle-Eastern, gay, straight, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, male, female, blind, deaf, paralyzed, and…. how old are you? That ought to go over real well with our citizens.

    Then, we have the fact that this statue is going to breed a new element of racial profiling. For example, let’s say you are running radar on a highway. The past three or four cars you stopped, going strictly by the speed, were persons of color. Knowing what this will look like in your statistics, will you stop the next car if you are able to see that the driver is another person of color, or will you wait and purposely look for a vehicle with a white driver to try and even out your stats? According to this law, you could go to prison for such an action. (Here’s a bulletin, this is already happening)

    This whole thing is disaster. The most repulsive part of this, however, is how we just played dead. There are many law enforcement organizations in New Jersey, many of which are supported by our contributions in the form of dues. We belong to them partly to have a voice in what goes on. Well, while this bill was sailing through, the PBA and FOP were busy bashing each other on their websites and newsletters. The IACP, the Honor Legion, the NJ Law Enforcement Officer’s Association, Americop.org and the Superior Officer’s Associations remained idle with their heads up their ass. Yes, we too had our heads up our ass. While NJLawman.com as a non-income receiving entity has tried to be a strictly positive media outlet for NJ law enforcement avoiding negative press and negative issues, we did nothing expecting not to be needed for anything more than to help get the word out. There was no word. Also, we’re not bashing the above organizations. Many of them have accomplished great things. We’re all to blame, not just our groups.

    Folks, no one took the lead on this or at least to any large degree. Maybe it was out of fear. Who knows? Opposing a specifically worded law should not brand one a racist. We do have to mention that a group of officers estimated in size to be between one and two hundred strong attended a little-publicized protest on the front steps of the New Jersey Statehouse on Wednesday, March 12th. Kudos to those guys and girls.  However, news accounts indicated that some LEO groups actually conceded to this watered down version of the law and declared such a victory. This law is no victory. There is no victory here. With all the heroics, bravery, and goodness within our ranks, it is disgraceful that no real fight was waged.  We close towns down for funerals when one of us falls.  Could you imagine what we could accomplish if we united for issues with that kind of turnout?

    Again, we do strongly oppose racial profiling. If you don’t consider the following: A black gentleman with his family is driving back up to New Jersey from a vacation in Florida. Also, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that racial profiling is lawful. The man is driving what’s clearly identifiable as a rental Nissan Pathfinder. Assuming he took Interstate 95 all the way up, and he were stopped just twice in each state (which could absolutely occur if this were lawful), he would have been stopped sixteen times during his trip. He would have also had to go through the standard line of questioning sixteen times in front of his family. Could you imagine one of his kids asking why this was happening? What would the answer be? I can’t imagine having to live in such a police state or having to go through such an ordeal especially in front of my family.

    Our problem is not with the banning of racial profiling. In fact, depriving one’s right to liberty is banned by the New Jersey State Constitution. Additionally, using race as a factor for stopping someone was specifically banned in 1986 in New Jersey v. Kuhn, 213 N.J. Super. 275, where the Court held “No rational inference may be drawn from the race of one to be detained that he may be engaged in criminal activities.” Undoubtedly, such a practice by law enforcement has also been visited and banned by numerous Federal Courts as well. Finally, selective enforcement is prohibited by just about every agency’s rules and regulations. No, this is not about any opposition to racial profiling. We can all agree that there is no room for this practice.

    A very strict Attorney General Guideline could have been created to prohibit racial profiling. Instead, we have a law which appears to be Unconstitutional. It is vague and ambiguous. Our only hope is that this law gets struck down by the New Jersey Supreme Court. 

    No, there is no room in a free society for law enforcement to stop persons because they're of a particular racial or ethnic background. Such a practice is reminiscent of 1939 Nazi Germany. However, creating a law that will hurt many more good officers than it will stop rogue officers is not the answer.

    You know, the fact that everyone in this country is different is our strongest asset. The fact that when you go to a mall or a game that you hear different accents and different languages and see different types of people is what makes America so great. It is a real shame that race remains such a polarizing issue.

NJLawman.com

Guest Column by Ptl. X

     "On March 12 there was a rally by NJ law enforcement at the state house in Trenton to show opposition to the "Anti-Profiling Bill" (AKA: S 429).  I learned about the rally only by chance the night before. The rally was being undertaken to oppose the assembly vote on the bill scheduled for March 13.  At first I thought someone had confused the date of the event because neither my PBA local nor any other source was confirming the event.  How come no one knew about this?  Eventually I learned FM 101.5 had confirmed the rally.

       I checked the legislative calendar and confirmed S 429 was slated for vote in the assembly on March 13th.  I took the ride to Trenton after my midnight tour.  I was completely dismayed upon arriving.  It was a most pitiful showing; there were at most 60 or 70 uniformed cops milling around the steps of the capitol building.  If you had been speeding along State Street this day, the whole affair could have been mistaken for some type of security detail.  I didn't get it.  Where the hell was everyone? Where was the PBA?  I knew there was a PBA mini convention but still, where were the reps from the state PBA?  Where was Madonna?  The majority of the officers there were from South Jersey Departments, many with FOP lodges.  Of those cops who formally addressed the small blue crowd, one represented the State Police Sergeants Association, another was from the South Jersey Police Chiefs Association.  While these reps were looking out for our interests, where was the PBA?  Was this not an important matter worthy of its attention?

       I urge every member of every police union and association, particularly PBA members, demand action and vigilance by its state representatives.  While none of us supports discriminatory police practices, the bill places well-intended officers in jeopardy of criminal charges for misconduct if they mistakenly stop an innocent person matching a suspect's description.  The bill has the potential to emasculate proactive law enforcement initiatives in each of our communities and fill all of our pockets with "green sheets" sworn to by the disgruntled and vindictive.  Demand action of your state reps now!"

          -Ptl.  X

           Middlesex County

 

April 24, 2003

       "The thought of enacting a law to prevent racial profiling disgusts me.  Does anyone besides me ever wake up at three in the morning and think that at that very second somewhere in the United States there is a Police Officer fighting for their life against some criminal who is trying to inflict harm against you or your family??  I am not saying that profiling is right, I am merely saying that the justice system has gone way off the deep end and perhaps forgotten who the good guys are here. Unless you have been a Police Officer and have been in those situations you have no right to speak on this situation. You want to stop profiling??? Obey the law; Stop speeding, stop tinting your windows black and fixing up your car so that it draws attention to yourself. If I got pulled over I must of broke the law.  I didn't think that the Officer pulling me over at night could see perfectly into my car, see that I am a minority and that's the reason for pulling me over.  Try it sometime.  Sit on the side of the highway some night, and while traffic is flying by at a minimum of 80 mph, try to tell me the nationality of the person driving the vehicle.  If you can do that with consistency then maybe you should be making the laws.  GOOD LUCK!!!!"

          -Anonymous

April 16, 2003

       "Solving the problem is easy.   Be reactive ONLY!"

          -Anonymous

April 16, 2003

       "McGreevey is weak!!

       This state wants LEO's to lay down, fine we will and then watch the politicians cry when crime is way out of control. All police in this state should give tickets to all people they stop, excluding family members and friends)  if you don't, then the person you stop can say that they were stopped because of their race. If you write a summons, the person has nothing to say, Why? because you proved you made a lawful stop.  The politicians have made "discretion" a thing of the past. These weak, politicians should put on a ballistic vest and ride one tour with me in Newark, and I'll laugh when they piss their pants. Then maybe they will support the Police more. McGreevey I have an extra vest if you want to go for a ride.

          -Code 525

April 18, 2003

       "I think the law is totally ridiculous. Many of our officers, especially those assigned to traffic enforcement have decided not to stop minority motorists for violations fearing they will be accused of racial profiling. These officers are covering themselves since many citations result in a complaint, which leads to an automatic IA investigation. Basically the officers need to prove they have not participated in using race as a motive to make the stop. This has become a double standard since it appears the officers must prove themselves innocent, yet the public is innocent until proven guilty. We have already seen the number of MV st have not participated in using race as a motive to make the stop. This has become a double standard since it appears the officers must prove themselves innocent, yet the public is innocent until proven guilty. We have already seen the number of MV stops and citations decrease for minority operators since the officers have decided to protect themselves and their interests i.e. job & retirement. I feel that the NJ politicians have created an unsafe environment for all law enforcement officers by initiating this law. Racial profiling needs to be stopped and those responsible held accountable, but I believe the law is scaring officers from doing their jobs that they are sworn to do.

          -A Detective who cant wait to retire and move out of this backwards state. 

April 4, 2003

       "Believe it! Our great  James McGreevey that liberal [] Gov. of NJ who sold his soul to the devil and to the highest bidder. Keep voting for liberals and you'll keep on getting horrible legislation. I'm sure this bill will make all of our lives  much better! What ever happened to punishing people who violate the law?... Hint...his biggest supporters. No One Is Above The Law and it doesn't matter what skin color you are. McGreevey should  keep that in mind []! 

           -Anonymous

April 3, 2003

       "This is "Political Correctness" at work. This action and actions like this will allow the bad guys to do as they will under protection of the law. Soon, every patrol officer will require an attorney as a partner to analysis the situation before action is taken.
Remember those who enacted this law.
Be safe."

          -Anonymous

March 25, 2003

       "The editorial is right on the money. It is sad that it had to come to this, but I feel that strong opposition from the law enforcement community would have an even worse effect on us as a whole.

       The public and political mentality would be that "since you guys are against the law because, you must support racial profiling!"

       While I know that NJ Law Enforcement as a whole does not engage in this sickening practice, I am sure there are (or were) a few individual officers that do (or did) engage in it.  Like anything else, it is a "few bad apples" whose unprofessional practices result in restrictive guidelines, directives, policies, and laws for all of us to follow.  In addition, they give the rest of us a bad rap.

       Of course, the politicians do not want to offend anybody and will vote for the law.  Almost like if they did not vote for the law that they would also be viewed as supporting racial profiling.

       It is not just a PBA, STFA, or FOP issue.  Where were they all?  I think I probably already answered that.

       This is a very sensitive issue to us, the public, and politicians alike.  My best advice to fellow officers is not to engage in this practice, to be professional and to use common sense in your public dealings."

            -Anonymous

March 19, 2003

       "It's about time that the State PBA stops waging a war with FOP and starts protecting the dues paying PBA members. Mr. President is always busy bragging how he had this bill and that bill passed. Let me guess, you probably voiced your opinion while dining the governor on our coin and still haven't got the time to approach the topic on 70% at 25.  Thanks for nothing."

          -A Police Officer

March 19, 2003

       "The Editorial on Racial Profiling is right on the money.  While the practice is, in my opinion, ridiculous, we don't need another BS law for offenders and their shysters to use as leverage to avoid prosecution.  Many agencies will readily dismiss charges against genuine offenders when confronted with counter complaints, just to avoid media exposure and litigation fees.  In addition, the vagueness of this law will make it impossible to defend against - it is way too open to judicial interpretation.  Get ready for more clogged courts; get ready to work the road short, while your brother and sister officers are suspended pending investigation/adjudication; get ready to be accused of racism and profiling every time you take enforcement action against a suspect of a different race or religion than you.  This pandering by McGreevey should not go forgotten !!!"

          -Disgusted Patrol Officer

           Mercer County

March 19, 2003

       "S429 wording- A public servant acting or purporting to act in an official capacity commits the crime of official deprivation of civil rights if, knowing that his conduct is unlawful, and acting with the purpose to intimidate or discriminate against an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, 1[age,]1 handicap, sexual orientation or ethnicity, the public servant: (1) subjects another to unlawful arrest or detention, including, but not limited to, motor vehicle investigative stops, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, lien or other infringement of personal or property rights; or (2) denies or impedes another in the lawful exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power or immunity.

       When I was in law school, we had a term for this... "Unconstitutionally vague."  Although I'm sure most LEO's will have to deal with this, few (or none) will be convicted, since the state will have to prove that the officer set out to discriminate.  In other words, if someone is stopped for breaking the law, the purpose of the stop was to enforce the law, not to intimidate.

          -Anonymous

March 19, 2003

       "I'm a Black male in new jersey with a score of 93 on the state law enforcement test and I still have a hard time becoming a cop. We need more black cops!"

          -Anonymous

March 19, 2003

       "As a NJ resident who has many LE friends I feel this bill will be counterproductive. While the intent is a good one, the only benefactors will be those who are again looking to circumvent the system. This administration has only further weakened the LE enforcement in this state. I do not envy those who job it is to protect and serve our communities.

          -Anonymous

March 16, 2003

       "I can't believe McGreevey.  Keep on voting Liberals into office and you'll keep on getting horrible legislation. I'm sure that this bill will make all of our lives that much better! yeah right. What ever happened to the old ideal of punishing people that brake that law no matter who the law?  NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW and it doesn't matter what your skin color, McGREEDY should of kept that in mind."

          -Anonymous

March 19, 2003

       "Granted, this bill can be extremely harmful to the way we do our job on a daily basis, and equally place us under the microscope for overzealous witch hunts for supposed criminal actions.  However, ladies and gentlemen, let's get real for a moment!  At the present time it is an absolute no-win situation for us to attempt to demand that the bill be limited / modified / discounted or repealed. Have any of you ever seen, known or been the person falsely accused of a crime and then be vindicated by being exonerated in a court of law?  Guess what, the vast majority of the general public still feel that the person is guilty.  "They have friends in high places," "The system is crooked," Once again the racist gets off."  The main op/ed piece that appears on this site mentioned how the backlash of a racial profiling investigation would not only make the offer suffer from undue public scrutiny, but his friends and family as well.  Is it really that outlandish of a concept to also safely assume that by taking a stance on this issue to oppose in any form the above mentioned bill, that the same treatment would be endured by the officer or his or her loved ones just the same?   That's when the hunt would officially commence!  To truly help our cause, we need the support from the general public and have them call upon the inequitable stipulations.  With that platform first created for us by the public to stand united upon as law enforcement officers, I truly believe we would then stand a better chance to aid in our campaign for a fair law to eradicate the evils of racial profiling, rather then the presently existing sham that was passed by the state. "

          -PATROLMAN FROM   

           BERGEN COUNTY-    

 

 

February, 2003

Advertising on

Police Cars

 

       Out of the fog emerges the bright, shiny squad car, the staple of any modern-day law enforcement agency. The paint shines, the overhead lights glisten in the morning sun. The few remaining dew drops from the evening mist only add to the brilliance of the most noticeable vehicle of modern times. Then, as it gets closer the writing on the car comes into focus. 

       Emergency?   No.  9-1-1?  No.  Police?  No.  Finally, the cryptic symbols evolve into legible words. “Eat at Joes.”

       “Absolutely not!” you might say. 

       Right now this type of advertising situated on patrol cars is in the works.

       Okay, say that you’re an administrator with your department. You’re also in charge of the fleet. Money is tight, and you’re trying to get a few more months out of some of your older cars. One day your receive a call from a fellow representing a national company. He tells you that he will give you four fully equipped police cars for a dollar each if you agree to post advertisements on the police cars. Come on, you’d have to at least think about if for a second, especially in you’re from a smaller agency where cars are at a minimum.

       Government Acquisitions, LLC, a North Carolina based firm, is the principle firm behind this new concept. To date, we cannot find one agency who has accepted delivery of these vehicles, but this company has received interest from law enforcement agencies all over the country. As of last month, they had signed with at least twenty departments.

       Proponents will argue that this program could result in substantial savings for the taxpayer. Police Departments will often take up one quarter of a municipality’s operating budget. By adopting this program, police departments can slowly turn over the fleet, and replace vehicles every three years which is allowed under the program. If you already have enough vehicles, Government Acquisitions LLC will even allow you to create a take-home-car program for your officers.

       Individual officers can benefit as well. If only a percentage of the saved funds were put back into the department, it could mean a windfall of overtime opportunities. Motor vehicle checkpoints, DWI patrols, Street Crimes Patrols, community service events, and narcotics operations can all be funded with the extra cash.

       Also, patrol cars are the perfect place to advertise. Everybody looks at and watches patrol cars. “Uh, oh, a cop. Slow down.” If this program did take off people would even take more notice. Eventually, people would be looking even closer at patrol cars to see what the car looks like and what ads are on there. If you were part of the think tank of a major company, this program would be worth a shot, depending on the cost of course.

       The arguments for such a program can go on. Freeing up money allows agencies to begin spending on homeland security; big city departments can use the savings to give their officers well-deserved and long overdue raises, savings can be applied toward long needed equipment, etc.

       The mayor in the town of North Brunswick has publicly expressed his interest in the idea. He estimates that they could save $250,000 per year by signing up.

       It all comes down to, “Is it worth it?” “Is it worth the price?”

       Commercial Alert, a nonprofit organization chaired by long-time consumer activist Ralph Nader said ads on police cars would make the officers and their vehicles “objects of ridicule and scorn.”  “It is imperative that we resist all that would cheapen or degrade the men and women who maintain order in our communities, or would make them objects of ridicule and contempt,” they said.

       We wholeheartedly agree with them.

       Law enforcement is a profession. If we start putting advertisements on patrol cars, what’s next? What about our uniforms? Surely we could generate some extra cash by wearing uniforms resembling those of a NASCAR driver. Does that mean it is a good idea?

       Despite all of the positives, and there are many, law officers would now be driving around in nothing less than rolling billboards.

       Some things should just be out of bounds for revenue collection. Included in that credo should be everything pertaining to law enforcement. Everything about us should remain pure, untarnished, neutral and detached. We wouldn't even consider doing something like this in a court of law. Well, shouldn’t law enforcement be held to the same standard? What about our nation’s monuments? The Statue of Liberty is one of the most photographed and viewed icons in our country. What if Nike agreed to absorb all maintenance costs in return for putting their slash right across her crown? Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the point.

       Of course there are other arguments to be made over the conflict of interest that may result from this, and the new source of articles for the media with headlines like “Why Cops are Practicing Selective Enforcement in Favor of their Advertisers,” but we’re not even going to visit them. The argument against this shouldn't have to go beyond principle.

       

NJLawman.com

 

February 28, 2003

          "It would be a plus on my Department. They would have to buy some cars that run.

          -Anonymous

February 28, 2003

          "Advertising on a police car?? How unprofessional!!! Cops don't get enough respect now.. Imagine if Dunkin Donuts advertised on the side of a radio car?  Laughing stocks! Appearance of police at any scene, commands respect that all cops deserve.  How good would it look if a sponsor got arrested for being affiliated with known criminals??  Why not have memorials dedicated to our fallen brethren, killed in the line of duty? 

          -Anonymous

February 20, 2003

          "Giving a simple yes or no answer to the question about advertising on patrol cars is too simple.  Are they advertising Viagra or Dunkin donuts and how large is the ad are are all questions that need to be answered.  I think it should looked into in detail. It can work out well if done correctly.  I am a retired patrol officer of 30 years.

          -Anonymous

February 16, 2003

          "Just another disgrace to the law enforcement community. Why not go one step further...on the officers idle time between calls let the department allow us to  deliver food for Pizza Hut! Think about it...the pizza would be delivered much faster and hotter....with lights and siren activated."

          -Lieutenant Gene DiGiacomo

          -E.O.P.D.

February 15, 2003

          "I feel the integrity of the Police Departments would be effected.  If the businesses wanting to advertise buy billboards."

          -Anonymous

February 10, 2003

          "This is a disgrace to any dept. Use the garbage trucks or any PW vehicles, not police cars. Here's a way for the public to loose respect for the police officer. What's next clown suits for uniforms?"

          -Anonymous

February 7, 2003

          "Who is going to drive the Viagra car?  Not me!"

          -Anonymous

February 5, 2003

          "It could mean a windfall of overtime opportunities...DWI patrol I could just see it now Budweiser or Coors advertising on a unit assigned to DWI patrol !!!!"

          -Anonymous

February 4, 2003

          "This is akin to gambling in professional sports.  It lessens the integrity and credibility of the profession."

          -Anonymous

February 4, 2003

       "I think there is a bill in the assembly prohibiting such advertising."

          -Anonymous

February 4, 2003

       "I think this is ludicrous, Police cars need to be readily recognizable. I don't want to know as the Tides cop. Municipality managers need to cut somewhere else."

          -Anonymous

February 4, 2003

       "Welcome to NASCAR!  So...now do I shake the advertisers door more often than a non-advertisers...who gets quicker response to service related calls?  We are under the magnifying glass enough these days why open ourselves to additional problems?  I say no to advertising, I am familiar with the North Brunswick story, it's been in the news in my area for a few months.  What happens if an advertiser is accused of being EOE non-compliant or even uses sweatshops to produce it's products...stickers would be coming and going on a daily basis.  Ralph Nader is right on this one, Officers would be subjected to ridicule driving these cars, driving a car with advertisement from the company could cause more damage than it is worth. If our agencies are looking for ways to gain financial support from advertising there are other avenues that need to be looked into to gain those needed dollars.  I have no idea what the best solution is, but advertising on patrol cars is not worth the price."

          -Anonymous

February 4, 2003

       "Unbelievable, I can't believe anyone would even think about something like this. Not only are we kissing the communities butt, but now we advertise for them."

          -Anonymous

February 4, 2003

       "If I wanted to advertise on a vehicle, I would drive a race car."

          -Anonymous

 

 

January, 2003

2002 Year in Review

       It’s over. For some, good reddens to 2002. For others, good memories. Either way, we all hope that 2003 can be a better year.

       In New Jersey we only lost one in the line of duty. Trooper Christopher S. Scales died on December 3rd while working a seatbelt enforcement detail. One too many.

       We saw State v. Carty (requiring reasonable suspicion before requesting consent to search a motor vehicle) find its way into our vocabularies. We also saw the State v. Dangerfield debacle where the NJ Supreme Court first severely limited incident-to-arrest searches followed by an unprecedented reversing of their own decision a few weeks later.

       A statute subjecting LEO’s to criminal prosecution for racial profiling still looms in the legislature.

       While the numbers are still being confirmed, it looks like Amazing Grace was played 133 times nationwide in 2002.

       We saw many, many heroics, kind acts, and solving of the unsolvable during the past year as we do every year. We dragged people from fires, delivered babies, brought the dead back to life, and chased down, fought with, and took off the street persons destined to inflict harm on others often putting ourselves in harm’s way. Some of us almost lost our lives doing this job. As indicated above, one of us did. We also saw many of these eclipsed in the press by mistakes made by those within our ranks.

       There are many reasons to be proud of your profession. Today, we teach in the schools, speak at events, volunteer with children, conduct clothing drives for the poor, hold fundraisers for those in need, and even feed the hungry. (Nice job Jersey City PD)  Then there are the things that no one sees like helping someone with cab fare from your own pocket, taking time to talk to some addict about rehab, reaching, even if just for a second, some kid heading down a bad road, or just picking up off the street and giving a ride to some woman and her children during a heavy rain storm. This is all in addition to locking up child molesters, rapists, murderers, and other shitbirds. Today, more then ever before, LEO’s are called upon for so much more than directing traffic, giving tickets, and separating combatants. We are truly a part of the solution and participate in so many efforts to make our towns better places to live.

       Resolutions are good. They are goals. The beginning of a new year offers not just a time to reflect, but an opportunity to change course, refocus, reinforce, and redo. Good contracts are great. Better retirement percentages with less years required are awesome. Promotions, moving to the DB, choice schools, or being loaned to a county NSF for a year are all exciting. However, there are certain things that don’t necessarily benefit us as individuals that must be on our collective agendas. As mentioned in previous articles, we are a culture, a body. Some things must be done for the good of the body. Below are just a couple of thoughts. Take a look:

  • Enough is Enough! Get off the NJ State Police’s ass!

  • Stop Playing Dead! We mass in the thousands when one of us falls, but when we fall under siege for some incident involving our officers we often don’t even offer as much as a press release

  • Closely watch for any case law bringing back the decision in State v. Dangerfield (prohibiting police from conducting incident-to-arrest searches of persons arrested for disorderly person’s offenses) and amass to fight it via PBA, FOP, other LEO advocacy groups, senators, assemblyman, etc.! We cannot play dead on this one

  • Remember the following! “We all know how hard it is to get this job, but a lot of us forget how easy it is to lose.” An awesome quote to our Editorial Page from an anonymous NJ officer.

       There are many others.  Please use the text box at the top of the column on the right to add some goals or thoughts for 2003.

NJLawman.com

       

November, 2002

"The Marketing of Law Enforcement"

 

During a recent trip, the subject of New Jersey law enforcement came up in conversation. A woman from the west coast commented, “Oh, they’re a really corrupt police force out there.” Aside from her obvious lack of knowledge as to how law enforcement is organized in New Jersey and her quickness to label an entire state’s law enforcement community based on a 30 second clip she saw on the news, her comment offers much to think about.

There are many forces working against the law enforcement community. That is a fact, and there is little, if anything, that can be done about it. With that said, do we do enough to combat the negative perception created by those many forces? In most of the high profile cases, “No comment” is usually our response. This may be accompanied by assurances that the incident and the officer(s) will be fully investigated. The other side, however, makes daily accusations in the press. They mysteriously produce new witnesses and new facts to keep the incident in the spotlight. We again offer the “no comment” response.

Fortune 500 companies have entire divisions devoted to public relations. Politicians have press secretaries, celebrities have personal assistants, and professional athletes have agents. We have…..no comment. It’s no wonder that we come off as the boogiemen.

Perhaps, in addition to training courses on management, uniform crime reports, and handling the marginal employee, upper ranking police officers should be taking courses on marketing and press relations. Even though it is on our side 99% of the time, the truth doesn’t count. Perception is what counts. By that I don’t mean in any way we should spread false propaganda. Simply, because the truth is on our side, we need to get it out more frequently and to a wider audience.

In the 1990’s “random acts of kindness” became one of the buzz terms. This is what law enforcement officers do every single day. When a CO consoles an inmate who just learned of the death of a relative and can’t be with his or her family, when a black officer helps the wife of a not-so-open-minded fellow and shapes his views toward persons unlike him, or when a white police officer reaches the teen who has had a hatred for law enforcement instilled in him since birth, we are performing extraordinary acts that never go noticed.

It’s not about doing things for good press either. It’s the stuff that is done every day that needs to be publicized more. I’ve seen officers buy pampers for a woman who spent all her money on crack, give cab fare to a stranded family, drive an elderly man to the store for milk, get people jobs, and convince addicts to go to rehab. We teach in the schools, speak at chamber of commerce meetings, run after-school programs, organize sporting events, take groups of underprivileged kids to baseball games, and coach teams. The list is endless.

The problem is that we don’t get the word out enough. Every line supervisor should be watching for these moments and relaying them up to middle management. In turn, middle management should be assembling press releases or finding ways to publicly commend these actions. Next to the fax machine in every law enforcement headquarters should be the fax number to the news room of every major national, state, regional and local media outlet. Obviously, we can’t send out a press release for every good deed, but perhaps they can be assembled to recognize an officer for his or her work which can get dispatched everywhere.

It is true that it would come to a point where the press clearly skips some stories in furtherance of their own agenda, but we are far from even reaching that bridge.  We simply don't do enough to highlight our many accomplishments.  

With all that said, we also cannot defend the indefensible. That is where credibility is lost. Just look at some of the so-called activists who take on every ridiculous cause that crosses their path. The one or two worthy things they might do in a year get lost because the spokesman has no credibility. We have to be careful not to fall into that trap.

When a high profile incident arises, we should have strategies in place to manage the coverage. Protecting the officer and reputation of the agency have to be the priorities wherever possible. If we stick to the "no comment" strategy, the story or article will be one-sided filled only with accusations.  As far as our day-to-day accomplishments, letting the public know of the many, many random acts of kindness performed by law enforcement officers every hour of every day is long overdue. Marketing is proactive. If we want to change perception, we have to do it ourselves.  

NJLawman.com

 

Your Submissions...

September 4, 2002

"You hear it often, but it's true.  We're our own worst enemy.  Your article was right on the money.  We do play dead way too much."

 

        - Lt. Rob