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JUSTICE FOR

PO DOMENICK INFANTES

 

 

       On July 4, 2001 Domenick Infantes, a

 

 

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Previous Editorials

 

 

March, 2004

Is it the Press or is it Us?

 

May, 2004

THE YARD - Should Inmates Have Access to Gym Equipment?

 

December, 2003     

NJ Law Enforcement to Become the Immigration Police?

 

November, 2003      
Internal Affairs, 2003

 

October, 2003        
DOP Promotional Exams

 

September, 2003    
Pat
rol Car Cameras

 

August, 2003         
The Short Straw  -  The Story of Linwood, NJ Officer Wayne Finnegan

 

 

seven-year-veteran police officer of the Jersey City Police Department, was off duty and enjoying himself at a 4th of July party.  

 

       At one point fireworks were thrown onto the driveway of the family hosting the gathering.  They landed near two children, 1 and 4, who became hysterical from the loud noise.  The father of the children yelled at the kids who threw the fireworks and told them to stop.

 

       One of the adults at this neighbor's house heard the firework throwing children being yelled at and began yelling back.  The two men began yelling back and forth at one and other.  A second man also appeared at this neighbor's home.

 

       Instead of just letting it end, these neighbors, Benjamin and Alfredo Gavina, each grabbed a metal pipe and began walking over.

 

       Hearing the commotion, Domenick came out, identified himself as a police officer by word and with his badge, and asked everyone to calm down.  He asked the Gavina brothers to put down the pipes.  As described by eyewitness Tina Belka, "They refused and began to yell at Dom to show them his gun to prove he was a police officer and started yelling things about cops. Dom told me to 'Call 911, tell them officer needs assistance.'  My father was standing there also, so he ran in and called 911. The Gavinas were still holding the pipes, refusing to put them down or go inside."

 

       An altercation ensued.  When it was over, Domenick who was unarmed, was on the ground.  He had suffered massive trauma as a result of blows to the head with a metal pipe.  Domenick died as a result of this attack.  

 

       Two years later the court case began.  Domenick seemed to be the one put on trial.  Both brothers were acquitted of murder, and only one was found guilty of Reckless Manslaughter, a lesser charge.

 

       In memory of Domenick Infantes, members of the Jersey City POBA have launched an effort to bring a civil rights prosecution against these two "fellows."

 

       They need your help.

 

       A webpage has been created to outline exactly what needs to be done.  Click here to visit this page.

 

       Please, please help them.  Officer Infantes is gone, but he should not be forgotten.

 

       Justice for Ptl. Domenick Infantes.

 

 

NJLawman.com

 

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December 15, 2005

Gentlemen, ladies (of the law enforcement community), and friends, family, and loved ones of Ofc. Infantes, my heartfelt condolences go out to you all who knew, and loved. and were friends/fellow officers of Ofc. Infantes. What was described in the aforementioned article is nothing short of an utter outrage and complete injustice. It is so very tragic that our state, our society, our criminal justice system has deteriorated to this point - where the criminals, the perpetrators of violence, and the purveyors of filth are afforded greater leniency and "protection" than those of us sworn to enforce the law, and thus protect (all, equally) and preserve law, order, and civility. It is absolutely disgusting. I am a NJ state correction officer, and I see these sort of things happen all the time. Violent predators and perverts in the jail victimize another inmate, a civilian employee, or an officer, and when the response team arrives, and quells the incident, the officers' actions (NOT THOSE OF THE VIOLENT PERPETRATOR) are scrutinized by the internal affairs division and the administration. In this country, it seems that law enforcement officers are "handcuffed", emasculated, stripped of any "real" power to do our jobs. with the rise of street gangs on the east coast, our streets are now becoming increasingly violent and dangerous. The Bloods street gang has actually declared war on all law enforcement officers (and our families). They've already started killing cops in Newark, NJ. We need a tougher approach to dealing with criminals and street thugs. We cannot continue to merely warehouse criminals either. We need "REAL SOLUTIONS" for our very "REAL PROBLEMS". Convicts in our jails are only becoming criminal in their mentality and behavior (and the juveniles are even worse). Life is very precious (sacred even). A law enforcement officer (or those in general who are charged with the responsibility of protecting life) is just as sacred. A most severe penalty should be meted out against those who unjustly take life!

 

          -Anonymous
 

October 22, 2004

The crematorium is accepting new "clients" daily.  Free limousine service is available for their immediately delivery to their final destination.

 

Could someone arrange their immediate pick-up and escort? I would be personally delighted to observe this event. These two bastards deserve nothing less.  Also, please bring the lenient Judge along for the ride, the asshole that let them plea-bargain down their murder raps. He should meet the same fires of the ovens.

 

God Bless Dominick & His Soul. In the spirit of Good fellowship, let true justice be done.

 

          -Anonymous
 

 

October 15, 2004

Oh God the family of this man.  God bless you all and you know what the law does not always work, but God does.

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

October 11, 2004

My name is Robert Infantes, I am Dom's cousin. I am also a police officer. I felt a double loss on July 4th. 2001. I lost a very special part of my family as well as a Brother officer. I thought July 4th. 2001 was the worst day in the history of my family, until the day that jury freed one of those animals for killing an unarmed man, and giving the other animal a slap on the wrist. That jury mad it very clear to all POLICE OFFICERS all around the USA what they thought of THE LAW and of the men and women in blue whom took an oath to protect them, to give the ultimate price so they and their families can sleep in peace. I was so very angry for that day. I did not want to come to work anymore. I felt, why should I get shot at, run off the road by punks in a stolen cars, or beat up when responding to call for domestic violence, risking my life for a burglary call, responding to aid a sick person, why should I do do all this for people who would free someone who just killed me because they don't like the police for some insane reason like they got a speeding ticket or arrested at some point in their life or race. I thought screw them, screw them all... That lasted for about 1 day. Simply for the fact that Dominick would be upset with me for feeling this way, people need someone to watch over them to protect them from harm, to listen to them when no one else will to make the streets safe for the children. That is why we became Police officers, to make a difference. Ironically July 4th. just happens to be my wife's birthday. Do you want to know how I celebrate it, by going to the cemetery to visit Dom. The 4th. of July to me for the rest of life and for my family will always be a reminder of the day Dominick was beaten like a dog, murdered, and the 2 animals that did are having a barbecue. This is not justice for a man who gave his life to protect yours.

 

          -Robert Infantes

 

 

October 6, 2004

I never knew Domenick Infantes but I work with his cousin who also is a police officer. The justice system has once again failed all of us law abiding citizens by not punishing the criminals. This cannot continue!!! We as a society cannot let crimes against police officers go unpunished. If we do anarchy will rule and life as we know it will end. My heart goes out to the Infantes family.

 

          - Anonymous

 

 

September 12, 2004

Firstly my prayers and sympathy to PO Infantes family. Anyone who kills a cop on or off duty should get the death penalty. Once again we have the perp's in the act with no question, and a jury of idiots (not peers) aided by a p/o/s Attorney comes to the wrong conclusion.

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

July 6, 2004

I want to say to Dominick's family that he has not been forgotten. I knew him for a long time and he was a wonderful person. It is not only the issue that a cop was murdered but a great person has been lost. He is in heaven watching over you all with his genuine heart and smile. He was a person who wanted the best for everyone. Thank you for bringing him into this world and know that one day you will see him again.   His strength and love is living through you all on a daily basis. Every time you smile he smiles.   all of your actions are done in memory of him. Therefore he will always be remembered. Justice will be served. He will always be in my heart. Many blessings.

 

P.S. Hw would love that the Mets are kicking the Yankees butts. ;- )

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

April 28, 2004

I am currently working towards becoming a full time police officer and yet everyday there is some news article that puts that ounce of doubt in the back of my mind.  I am already a police reserve for my town and love the hands on experience but when you hear of officers being killed because of the doubt they have in their mind to use their weapon that has been issued to them it's absolutely ridiculous!  In my opinion when an officer has to reach for his weapon he has a gut instinct that something is terribly wrong and for him to doubt himself at this moment only makes the situation worse.  Why issue a deadly force weapon if when it is used, you, as an officer face charges and internal affairs down your back?  It only makes our officers less efficient and focused when they worry about being prosecuted for doing what they are trained to do.  It's sad that the job.  I've dreamed of having my whole life may not end up being my job after all...

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

March 19, 2004

Once again the system failed to put two brothers behind bars for murder. And if Domenick would of fired his weapon with total justification to do so the system would of found a way to make him wrong anyway. And if one of the family members of a political party gets hurt THEY WANT THE HAMMER THROWN AT THE PERSON WHO DID IT!! WHAT A JOKE OF A SYSTEM WE HAVE!! This is an injustice to all police officers. In today's world being a police officer in the eyes of the system is simply your a badge # that can be replaced. A message to the IDIOTS who acquitted these two brothers of murder. Maybe someday you'll be in the same situation and this will happen to you and see how you like it!! Your decision is a JOKE!! 

 

God Bless the Infantes family!!

 

 

February 4, 2004

It is a crime in itself to have the Gavina brothers not convicted of first-degree cold-blooded murder. There is no excuse for the jury's actions, they should be ashamed of themselves. How are Police Officers supposed to be confident in doing their jobs? This was a true injustice to every single Police Officer in America.   

 

          -Police Officer

          -Stevens Inst. of Technology 

 

 

January 17, 2004

TO THE INFANTES FAMILY: I HAD THE PLEASURE OF KNOWING DOMINICK THRU OUT OUR HIGH SCHOOL YEARS, HE WAS A JOY TO BE AROUND WITH, HE MADE EVERYONE LAUGH, I WILL MISS HIM DEARLY. GOD BLESS THE INFANTES FAMILY FOR HAVING SO MUCH STRENGTH. DOMINICK IS WATCHING OVER US. KEEP THAT FLAG WAVING! JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

January 15, 2004

This is crazy, police officers can no longer do their job. Politicians and the changing times have taken the power away from the police and given it to the criminals. Even the death of a cop wont change that. where is this country going, its time for all of us to find another profession. May God bless this officer and his whole family, my heart goes out to them.

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

December 21, 2003

My thanks to everyone who took the time to link to the [Justice for PO Domenick Infantes] site.  To date, over 1,200 hits have been recorded on the site.  If every one of them sent the letters, then a powerful message is being sent to our legal system.

 

My holiday wish is for Domenick's family to see justice served and to bring peace to their respective families.

 

Domenick now resides with the heroes of our profession, where he and his family will be always honored and never forgotten.  Peace to All.

 

          -R. Fulton,     

          - Webmaster

          - www.hobokenpba.org 

 

 

December 31, 2003

As a jersey city resident I am outraged. This crime took place around the corner from where I live!  Shame on the people who let killers go free.

 

           -Anonymous

 

 

PREVIOUS ISSUES

24 Years

 

              No one who murders a police officer should ever be allowed to escape justice. Even if the investigation must be handed down to the next generation of officers and investigators or continued on personal time in retirement, it should never be closed. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. Sometimes, it is just out of our hands.

 

       On May 2, 1973 New Jersey State Troopers James Harper and Werner Foerster were patrolling the New Jersey Turnpike in the area of East Brunswick. They stopped a car with three occupants.

 

       The Troopers were questioning the occupants when the driver and female passenger suddenly came up with semi-automatic pistols and opened fire. Trooper Foerster was struck twice in the chest, and Trooper Harper was hit in the shoulder. The female then proceeded to take the service weapon from the injured Trooper Foerster.  She pointed it at the wounded Trooper and shot him twice in the head, execution style. The thirty-four-year-old trooper with just three years on the road died soon after.  He left a wife and family behind.  Fortunately, Trooper Harper survived.

 

       The three were apprehended a short time later.

 

       In 1977 the female shooter was convicted and sentenced to life plus 26 to 33 years in prison. She was incarcerated in the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Hunterdon County. This facility is more commonly known today as Clinton.

 

       On November 2, 1979 in the daylight hours this convicted murderer was serving her time in Clinton when she was taken from her cell to the visitor’s area to meet with four people who had come to see her. It was a setup. The four visitors took a Corrections Officer hostage. They then took a prison driver hostage. Using the hostages, the visitors helped her escape.

 

       She eluded capture for several years until 1986 when she made her way to Cuba.  There she was granted political asylum. She has been there ever since.

 

      Today, this woman goes by the name Assata Shakur.  We know her as Joanne Chesimard.

 

       It’s been seventeen years now. Photos coming out of Cuba show Chesimard to be a smiling, happy, fit, and seemingly well-rested tourist on an extended vacation. Not a care in the world. In fact, she’s even written five books which are carried by major American booksellers such as Amazon.com, Borders, and Barnes and Noble.

 

       The good folks over at the NY Times even found their way to review her book which most definitely boosted sales. "A deftly written book... a spellbinding tale." -New York Times Book Review

 

       On counter-culture websites she is celebrated as a revolutionary. Being the aunt of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur has only furthered her status.

 

       Seventeen years. For seventeen years this excrement has been living on an Island in the Caribbean. Granted, Cuba might not be the first choice for retirement, but chances are with her American fugitive status she has not been bothered too much by the Communist Government.

 

       Several attempts have been made to diplomatically bring her back. Some of these were stagnated by our own government. 

 

       In 1998 the US House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution urging Castro to return Chesimard to the United States. When the vote went to the floor it was worded using the name Joanne Chesimard, not Assata Shakur. After the vote, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D) from California realized that they were one and the same. She immediately wrote a letter to Fidel Castro explaining that she was purposely duped by Republicans. She stated that had she realized that Chesimard and Shakur were one and the same, she would have voted against the resolution citing her belief that Chesimard was “persecuted as a result of her political beliefs and political affiliations.” “I support the right of all nations to grant political asylum to individuals fleeing political persecution.”  Excuse my French, but what a piece of crap.

 

       Talk about sending mixed messages. It’s not certain which is scarier; the fact that a United States Congresswoman would be opposed to the extradition of someone who murdered one police officer and wounded another, or the fact that a United States Congresswoman casts her very powerful vote on issues when she is completely unaware of the facts. With this type of contradiction coming from our own government, it is no surprise that Chesimard still basks in the sun.  

 

       Chesimard will be fifty-six years old this July. It has been twenty-four years since she escaped to freedom and seventeen years since she took up new residence in Cuba. There is no investigation left to be done. She has already been convicted and sentenced.

 

       In 2000, we went through the Elian Gonzalez fiasco. Our government followed the law in deciding to return him to Cuba. We respect their law while they don’t respect ours. Did our Government even try to set up a backroom deal to have Chesimard returned? Probably not. What about our Governor, two Senators, and thirteen House Representatives? Is having Chesimard returned on the plate of any of our elected officials?

 

       This is not just a lesson in history. Joanne Chesimard murdered a police officer. She shot and seriously wounded another. Imagine what the scene must have looked like to responding backup officers. Imagine the blood, the cries of pain, the sight of Troopers in uniform crying, the knock at the doors, the families completely losing it upon receiving the news, the chaos at the hospital, the pronouncement, the task of sitting down with the children, and later the funeral.

 

       Joanne Chesimard needs to pay for her crimes. She needs to be brought to justice. As mentioned earlier, some attempts were made several years back, but nothing seems to be going on now. Pressure must be applied to our representatives to re-visit this issue and put it back on the front page. Our Government can work miracles when they want to. We have to make them want to. Joanne Chesimard has been free for twenty-four years. She murdered a police officer! She murdered a police officer! She murdered a police officer!  

 

       If the Government won't take action, then every local in this state should contribute monies to fund a trip to Cuba by family members and Troopers to personally meet with Fidel Castro and plead for her extradition.  

 

       Below is a link to reach the email page for the Governor.  We ask that everyone reading this take the time and drop him a note expressing your outrage and your insistence that action be taken.  Remember too that this tragedy occurred long before Governor McGreevey was in office.   His email page is a bit lengthy, but well worth the time. After all, if it was you on that motor vehicle stop back in 1973 you would want us to to do it for you and your family.  

 

NJLawman.com

 

Email Governor McGreevey

(Also, let us know when you send him an email.  

We will keep track and post how many emails have been sent)

 

 

Please share your thoughts on all aspects of the Joanne Chesimard issue 

from observations at the scene to opinions on attempts to get her back.

If you want, you can even send in a copy of the email you sent to the Governor to be posted. 

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that 

bash any ethnic group or that are clearly of an anti-law enforcement agenda.  

 

(Most Recent)

 

Copies of letters actually sent to

 Governor are highlighted in this color

 

February 4, 2004

I think it is a outrage that you don't get the facts strait. When explaining the way she picked up a gun and shot two bullet, you leave much detail out; in my opinion you lack in detail, which even makes you far fetched story even more hard to believe. I have done much research on the topic and read many diffrent reports. In one report a New Jersy police officers says she was convicted with first degree murder. then in the next sentence states they were unable to figure out who fired the faltal shot to his head. So, how can you convict a person of first degree murder when you are unsure who fired the last bullet. Regardless of the statement that situation is still exstremly skeptical. Becuase how can a person fire a shot and pick up a gun when she was so badly injured. the facts don't add up. Not to metion the jury was all white and as a act of deperation the juge refused many appeals and refused her to act as a co-consal. I believe they refused becuase of the strog impacked she had made in her previous trials..Also another thing to look at is the facted that 7 prevous trails were dimised and acquited. In the last trial which was the "Cop killer" trial it was a act of deperation and the riged trial sented her guilty.Also a man,Stanley Cohen,part of her defines  team died of "natrual cause" when he had come up on hard core evidence that showed the inosence of Assata Shakur. Then when the NJ police dapartment went to envestagate the hard core evidence had disaperd "magicaly."  so get you facts strait and reserch you facts as I have mine! P.S I do believe it is sad that the mans family is fatherless becuase no son or dauter should grow up that way.

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

November 5, 2003

       "At the time of this shooting I was a member of the NYPD Intelligence Division and we had many investigations involving them. The Department also lost Officers that were ambushed by the BLA. Joanne Chesimard conceived a child while in the detention cell with another Black Panther. (I forget his name at the moment). She had no regard for any law enforcement agency and was found guilty of her crimes. She should be extradited, it is long overdue."

 

          -HTG

 

August 18, 2003

       "I have done my fair share of reading about Assata Shakur, and political refugees in Cuba. I still have many questions regarding the entire incident, but the one that puzzles me most is the fact we have 77 political refugees in Cuba.  Why do we keep singling out Ms. Shakur being extradited back to the US? I understand that she committed are horrendous crime.  I give sympathy to the family and friends that lost loved ones that day.  But we need to remember that there are 77 other refugees in Cuba, 68 of which that have hijacked air planes.  Why are we concentrating on getting one person back to the US.  Is it because of her race? It is definitely not based on the severity of the crime.  Are you aware of the fact she was confined in a men's prison, under 24 hour surveillance? Forensic evidence showed that she was shot in the back with her hands in the air.  I am by no means justifying Ms. Shakur.  As an American I pride myself on our legal system.  People in jail get better treatment than people in the military. (I'm talking from experience now.) But do you really agree with extraditing Ms. Shakur back to the US, she has indeed suffered as well.  Also, Ms. Shakur has never admitted to shooting that policeman.  The only gun found was on the her accomplice, who was fatally shot.   This testimony you have conjured up has many loopholes.  If you were that police officer and you saw a woman with a pistol and a man that was unarmed, do you mean to tell me you would shoot the man first? Absolutely not.  I truly hope that the governor gets my message in time.  I find this statement you have posted to be incorrect.  Maybe the next time you choose to post something to this nature online, you will first do the research."

 

       -Anonymous

 

July 29, 2003

I am a Criminal Justice major, a single mother, and a woman of color.  The Blank Panther Party was a very powerful group, which underwent major scrutiny by the government and major cover ups. People of color to this day are not treated fairly, Ms. Shakur stated she was the one who was shot while her hands were raised in the air, and many of the stories have conflicting details. I do believe anyone affiliated with the Black Panther party was watched and singled out, do we know for sure this woman killed these officers in cold blood? Yes it is a shame about their families, and my heart goes out to them, however, NJ has the reputation of racial profiling NOW, I can only imagine what it was like then.  Ms. Shakur should have been tried by a jury of her peers, she stated she was tried by an all white jury.  A person can not be tried for the same crime twice, but based on the fact it was the Civil Rights era and Ms. Shakur did not have a fair trial maybe the case can be re-tried, with a multi ethnic jury, and evidence that was not able to be presented at that time. If Ms. Shakur knows she would get a new trial, and a fair trial maybe she would then come back.  Should it be shown again that Ms. Shakur is guilty, then she should be returned to prison.  Thank you for your time...your article was interesting and well written and I respect it, even if I may not agree with its entire contents."

 

May 9, 2003

       "Hon. Governor McGreevey,

 

Please accept this as a request that you consider lending your support to the New Jersey State Police and the family of Tpr. Werner Foerster, in their efforts to extradite Joanne Chesimard (AKA:  Assata Shakur) from Cuba. 

 

Chesimard was convicted of murdering Tpr. Foerster in 1977 and escaped from the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in 1979.  She has lived in Cuba and has effectively evaded extradition for some time, despite that attempts have been made to effect her capture, by various agencies, since her whereabouts became known.

 

I am aware that these circumstances existed long before you became the Governor, and it is unfortunate that you must inherit such unpleasant and lingering issues.  I do believe, however, that your support can only positively reinforce the resolve of those seeking to bring Chesimard to Justice. 

 

I am confident that you, too, will find it unfair that a fugitive cop-killer should enjoy the bountiful life of a celebrated author living her dream while some, on our own shores, struggle simply to exist.

 

Thank you, Sir, for your valuable time in this matter.  I avail myself to you, at the address above, should any questions or comments arise."

 

       -NJ LEO

 

May 8, 2003

    "Honorable Governor McGreevey,

 

I am writing you to ask for your assistance in a very serious matter that seems to be almost forgotten.

 

In 1973 New Jersey State Troopers James Harper and Werner Foerster were gunned down by Joanne Chesimard. Trooper Foerster died from his injuries. 

 

Joanne Chesimard was later sentenced to prison but escaped in 1979. She has been free ever since. All reports indicate that she is now living in Cuba. 

 

Governor, it has been too long. Joanne Chesimard has had freedom now for 24 years, and it's becoming a forgotten issue. I write to you today to ask that you take this issue on like no Governor has done before. I ask, with all respect, that, if necessary, you go to Cuba to get her back. This is the most important issue to New Jersey's law enforcement community.

 

New Jersey is facing some tough times. Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of good news that you can share due to our state going through a valley in the economic cycle. And, as there is no great boom on the horizon, this would be an excellent opportunity for you to accomplish something that every Governor since Chesimard's escape could not do. 

 

Even if you were unsuccessful, your efforts would be most appreciated by myself and every other man and woman who works in the law enforcement field.

 

I thank you for your time, and I hope to be reading about this issue in the newspaper. If I may be of any assistance with this issue, please use the attached contact information to reach me any time. Thank you again."

 

          -NJ LEO

 

May 9, 2003

       "I would think that this is a job for Special Ops. We know that the Cuban government if you want to call it that, will not return her. They did it in Pakistan a few years ago. I think they could do it now."

 

          -Lt. DJD 

          -NPD

 

May 3, 2003

      "This is an outrage...this scumbag murders and apparently gets away with it...Don't worry sweetheart, your gonna pay one way or another.  In this life or the next.  Someone at some point is coming for you. I'm sure the officers family's can take some satisfaction knowing that in this world you can run but you can't hide."

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

Corrections Officers

 and the "Right to Carry"

April 6, 2003

 

       When you accept a law enforcement position you also accept certain risks. These come both on and off duty. This is one of the reasons that law officers are given the very rare privilege, especially in New Jersey, of carrying firearms when not working. While we all don’t exercise this privilege all of the time, it’s nice to be able to put on a weapon when going out with your family to an area where you just might run into persons with whom you have dealt during the performance of your duties.

 

        Corrections officers, by far, have the most dealings with not just the criminally dangerous but the criminally insane of our society. They deal with them every day they go to work.  The ridiculous part of this is that they are the only group that is not, as a whole, permitted to carry weapons when off duty. We have all run into bad guys when not working, and most of the time nothing happens. However, there are times where things can go bad. By New Jersey statute, corrections officers are allowed to carry weapons off duty, but in certain counties CO’s are prohibited from exercising this privilege.

 

       The reason for this prohibition is unclear. Certainly, there has been no rash of incidents with armed, off-duty corrections officers or at least no more than those of police, sheriffs and other officers. If there is a particular officer that poses a threat if allowed to carry a weapon, he or she shouldn’t be an officer, the same way with any other law enforcement agency. Get rid of them. However, this prohibition probably has more to do with “Let’s not change the way something has always been.” Unfortunately, that rule is not made by someone working a pod, and that rule is just not fair and just not right.

 

       We live in a dangerous time. There are more guns on the street than ever before. New Jersey is also beginning to see a growing presence of gangs.

 

       We could go on and on with a laundry list of reasons why CO’s should be permitted to carry off duty, but we won’t.  You already know them.

 

       NJLawman is simply a media outlet and not in a position to wage this fight. However, due to the many emails we have received from CO’s around the state, we have decided to try and bring this issue to the forefront. This article will mean nothing if it is not acted upon. The only people who can act upon this are the corrections guys and girls themselves. Several weeks from now this article will fade from interest, but this issue will remain.

 

       Therefore, we have decided to provide every tool possible to get this thing going. First, we did this article to try and get the word out. It will be read by CO’s from Bergen County to Cape May County. Just in case, email this link to every CO you know.  Second, we have created a message board dedicated to this issue. We will keep it up as long as it is being utilized. On this board, CO’s from all over the state can compare notes, exchange contact information, organize, and prepare to take on this issue. The only doorway to this message board will be by clicking here. We do this to keep the board accessible to all, but those with no interest in this issue will probably not have read this far into this article. CO’s reading this are urged to contact their union hierarchy and colleagues and advise them of this board. Again, email the link to every CO in your address book even if your county has no such weapons prohibition. You might be needed by these other guys. Any other groups, individuals, or organizations that can offer support can do so on this board as well.

 

       Finally, we suggest that the affected locals organize. The PBA and FOP locals must put their differences aside and work together. The best chance for change is if all of your voices are united. It can’t be a dual fight being waged by separate unions, organizations, persons, and entities.  The PBA and FOP Presidents in all of the affected counties are urged to contact each other as soon as possible and schedule a meeting. Together they should team up and begin a crusade to correct this situation. Undoubtedly, they will be able to find support from some local state senators and assemblymen looking for a cause. They are offered this website for any and all postings that may be needed. They could even simultaneously begin a petition drive. There is a lot of room here for creativity in waging this fight, as it has never yet been waged.

 

       To all who have sent us emails on this issue, we have done everything we could think of. While we would welcome suggestions for more, the rest is up to you. Good luck, and, again, let us know if you need anything.

 

NJLawman.com

 

 

Your Views

 

May 28, 2003

       "I am a CO that does not have the agency approved right to carry. Again, agency approval doesn't mean the right to carry off duty under state law . I'm going to continue to carry off duty and don't care about what my agency says about it. As long as it's a good shoot the only thing I can loose is my job for violating agency policy. I'll run that risk at the benefit of protecting myself and my family (and perhaps assisting a fellow officer on the road in a back up situation) vs. being gunned down against an ex-inmate that identifies me in the open and is carrying without care or regard for the law. Don't fear your agency as you are a peace officer under NJ state law and a good shoot is your protection."

 

          -Anonymous

 

May 28, 2003

       "In response to the April 17th article by a Passaic County JDO....

 

       I think everyone understands your reservations to kill or injure a juvenile, a child, and it's understandable that you don't feel that you should carry a gun.  What you haven't considered, however, is that it's not only YOU that you're sworn to protect.  If you want to be considered a law enforcement officer then you have to assume the responsibility that comes with the title.  This means getting involved even if it's not your fight !!!   You'd make it much further with a weapon than with bare hands. 

 

       We're all cops here.  Nobody wants to kill and adult, much less a child...but, and this is a BIG BUT...NOBODY wants to die.  If you don't want to carry a gun, no cop that I've ever met would force you to, but don't interfere with the rights of others.  They still deserve to be protected, whether you want to or not."

 

          -Anonymous

 

May 24, 2003

       "I am an officer with the Middlesex County DOC. I am impressed with this article, and everyone seems to be pleased, but who is reading this? Probably not the freeholders.  The only people I know of that are reading this are other officers. Its time to move forward, rather than just talking about this. Major changes need to be made. If you give a person a police academy, police power, a uniform, and no weapon, its saying nothing for corrections everywhere. I'm embarrassed as an officer, that I cant carry a gun. And I'm sure there are a lot of others who feel the same way. Its hard to take pride in something you love when your working in a department like this."

 

          -Anonymous

 

May 18, 2003

       "I am been a Municipal Police Officer for 18 years. During my time on the road I have seen a steady decline in the unity amongst law enforcement officers as a whole. I have the utmost respect for corrections officers and the jobs which they do. I believe you have to consider the officers regardless whether they are Police Officer, Trooper, or a CO. The badge or the triangle or the shield don't make the man or woman. When I see a Police Officer, Trooper, or a CO I give them respect regardless of the uniform. When we bleed its all the same color.  There is no secret to the fact that there are enough bad guns out there and we could use a more good guns in the right hands. We all have the right to protect ourselves and the public at large. If an officer has the training and certifications they should be able to carry a firearm off duty. Our jobs are difficult enough without the threat of becoming a victim from someone we have encountered in the line of duty. Allow our brothers and sisters the right to protect themselves while off duty.  Just remember when your on the side of road one day and in harms way and a CO pulls over to help you out you'll be glad they have the right to carry and suddenly they wont seem so different."

 

          -Anonymous

 

May 18, 2003

       "To all my fellow brothers and sisters in Law Enforcement, keep up the good work that you do. As an employee of The State of New Jersey-Juvenile Justice Commission. I hear you all loud and clear and I strongly agree with you all. You have done all the proper training and you cant even protect yourself and your family and innocent people when in need. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Be safe out there."

 

          -Anonymous

 

May 18, 2003

       "As a NJ State C/O, I think this article is great. All NJ C/O'S should be able to carry off duty. There are 2 or 3 counties out there that still can't and I hope they get that issue resolved soon. I have 2 years in and I've run into one inmate so far and I had just secured my weapon in my friend's office at his garage. When the inmate saw me, he recognized me right away. Naturally, I didn't know who he was. Luckily nothing happened and he moved on down the road. But I'm one of the many that has the option of carrying off duty, not everyone in this state does and it needs to addressed including the first year recruits for the NJDOC and the JJC. They should not be required to wait. You graduate, you earn the right to protect yourself. Be safe all!"

 

          -BMC

          -NJDOC

 

May 16, 2003

       "Just returned from Washington, DC following the corrections officer's caucus. We met with our respective delegations of New Jersey and discussed many of our issues and concerns nationally. It was our opportunity to address and request the introduction and support of federal legislation that would ultimately pass our agenda. Staffing levels, collective bargaining, and anti-privatization of our nation's prison were on the table. During these meetings we were fortunate to address the concerns of our officer's forever tiring efforts to regain the right to carry a concealed weapon off duty. The delegation was very receptive, however, if you don't know, local issues must be dealt with on a state to state basis. We were advised to contact our state assemblyman / assemblywoman and express our concerns to them as well. There are state professional lobbyists that push agendas for local enforcement agencies. Their focus is to push for state legislation that enhances the well-being and safety of new jersey's law enforcement officers. As long as I can remember, this avenue has never been considered. it is one that we have not exhausted, and should be given our utmost attention at this juncture. We have endured more than a decade struggle with this issue. We would be reluctant not to pursue this option today. I have posted this information on behalf of my brothers and sisters of the NJ SATE PBA 152 officer's union.

 

          -Sgt. J. Crandall

          -NJ STATE PBA 152

 

May 16, 2003

       "Recently, while in the mall off duty I saw a ex-con that was in the Middlesex County Jail. Nothing happened, but you never know what will happen if you see someone you had a problem with on the inside. The encounter will forever stay with me being that it was my first encounter with a ex-con while off duty. I wondered why so many guys thought it was a big issue to carry off duty. Now I understand what the big deal is. We as correction officer's never know what is going to happen when we encounter a ex-con off duty. Anything can happen, these guys don't like us. They simply don't like the law period. It is to our benefit to carry off duty. It is for our safety and for the safety of our loved ones that we carry off duty. Simply put, its there is no reason why we shouldn't carry off duty. We took the same oath as street cops. According to our 2C book, we have the same authority as a police officer. On our identification it says that we have full police power. The only power we don't have is the power to carry off duty. This needs to change and I as a law enforcement officer don't see any reason why we shouldn't have the right to carry off duty."

 

          -Rookie Correction's Officer

 

May 16, 2003

       "I totally agree with this article.  I feel all CO's should be able to carry off duty. I'm a SC State CO. At the institutions I'm at, the Major like for all the officers is to get there conceal weapon permit. I already sent off my CWP and I'll be getting it this week, and I'm still a rookie. All law enforcement officers should be aloud to carry when off duty, especially all CO's no matter what state your from.  We as CO's don't get the respect nor recognition like we should be. We get threatened by these inmates who will be getting out some day, and we CO's need to be able to protect our families and ourselves.  If these criminals have committed violent crimes and murder they don't care about taking our lives. I have been threatened by an inmate already. CO's have the hardest jobs in law enforcement.  When the police catch these criminals and they are found guilty in a court of law, the criminals are brought to us.  I'm not putting down the police officers who do a good job and catch these criminals.  We are all law enforcement brothers, sisters and a family no matter what state your in. I hope all you CO's in NJ get through this and will be able to carry off duty in all counties.  I'm from NJ and I know a few CO's that work at the state prisons, county jails and juvenile centers.  The CO that works in the county jail carries of duty, and the one that's at the state prison also carries off duty.  I pray for all my CO brothers and sisters keep your head up and I hope all of yall will be able to work this problem out to carry off duty god bless all of us."

 

         

 

          -Anonymous

 

May 9, 2003

       "10 years as a NJ State CO, I have carried for 9, I have used my law enforcement powers to affect a few arrests, I have also been the "extra" body at many roadside motor vehicle stops @ 3am when my brother & sister Police Persons are out there on the road with no back-up, many of us from the NJDOC have done the same, also saving lives in armed robberies, car-jackings, assaults & even rape! Maybe if one of these politicians can imagine themselves or one of their loved ones as the victims of one these acts of "Domestic Terrorism" they wouldn't be so quick to get a "Pat on the Behind from the ACLU"! Then again without a gun I can still go to court and testify "Yes your Honor I saw the politicians family member being held by force at gun point and watched them get raped, but what was I supposed to do, I'm just a dumb prison guard, I told the man to stop or I'll.... ?? or I'll, Mmmmmmm, stick my hand in my jacket and pretend to shoot you with my imaginary gun! Sarcastic yes, Reality "YES"! To the politicians with their heads in the sand, last time I looked Corrections Officers in New Jersey make up the "MAJORITY" of Law Enforcement Officers state wide. Hey; do what you gotta do but when the "S" hits the fan like it did on 9-11, DON'T COME CRYING TO US!

PS: We are underpaid & understaffed, we get assaulted on a daily basis, our contracts are crap, the public has NO CLUE what we do, so go ahead take everything away, but what would you do if all us Prison & Jail Guards walked out?? Maybe you can get the security guards from the airport the who let terrorists on planes run the Prisons! Wont be too soon before Jessie the Tree Jumping Baby Rapist Murderer can come play in your back yard!!"

 

          -Anonymous

 

May 1, 2003

       "Until model legislation is introduced to prevent this severe dilemma, dept. heads and administrators will continue to strip you of your sworn peace officer status. you may want to start with contacting your lobbyists. they are responsible for the legislative efforts regarding your dilemma. you must find out who they are. then, and only then will you have an avenue to push your agenda. your warden is a very ignorant man. a social worker i think someone mentioned he was prior to being appointed warden. you have to expose this man publicly. there is certainly a message to be sent here. I'm sure the local newspapers would jump at the chance to write this story. I'm surprised this wasn't on your agenda already. best of luck. we stand united and in support of your efforts."

 

          -Family member of a slain

           corrections officer

 

May 1, 2003

       "Not only are the corrections officers having this problem, but the NJ State Rangers are also.  We can carry on duty, but once we are off we can't protect ourselves if we run into "Joe shit bag"..... I don't see how it makes any sense to not allow sworn law enforcement officers the right to carry. WE ALL EARNED IT!"

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 26, 2003

       "The time has come to shit or get off the pot!! We need to get the message across in a manner that would draw an extensive amount of attention. Enough is enough!! Off duty corrections officers have fell victim to Politics in Middlesex County. The hard-working county tax payer in Middlesex County needs to know that the elected freeholders have sold out public safety. The residents of Middlesex County and North Brunswick Twp. need to be alerted that there are more than 200 law enforcement officers working for the Department of Corrections have been denied they're right to carry off duty. Each corrections officer in Middlesex County has successfully completed a New Jersey State certified police academy in order to obtain the position with the DOC. I wonder if the North Brunswick Residents who reside in those luxury homes along Riva Avenue (directly behind the County jail) know what the Freeholders have subjected them to. Public safety depends on law enforcement officers to maintain constant security of they're respective municipalities, On and off duty in the State of New jersey. However, the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders have taken a firm position to prohibit the 200 qualified corrections officers from carrying off duty. Off duty Corrections officers sacrifice they're lives everyday, maintaining custody and control of inmate populations across the nation in the line of duty. They protect the public from inmate escapes, insuring the comfort and safety of county and municipal residents. However, the one thing that has been eliminated is the right for a Middlesex County off duty Corrections officer to protect themselves and they're families. We are confronted daily by ex-inmates, once incarcerated at our facility. Off duty corrections officers are subjected to potential retaliation by disgruntled ex-inmates and gang members. We all live in areas of Middlesex County where we have been either confronted or identified ex-inmates. Statistics continue to prove off duty corrections officers are targeted by ex-inmates."

 

          -Anonymous Sgt.-Middlesex County

          - PBA 152-A 

 

April 24, 2003

       "I simply fail to understand why the Freeholders of Middlesex County and others like them have not yet figured out that, since the very nature of their position requires their officers to qualify with firearms twice annually anyway, the expense of allowing off duty carry would be minimal.  Let's face it, any officer interested in carrying off duty would gladly purchase their own weapon and ammunition and those that aren't interested really aren't affected at all.  The NJDOC created a list of acceptable models and calibers of off-duty handguns, which successfully restricts their officers to carrying at least marginally reliable guns and effective rounds...at no cost to the State.  Why cannot Middlesex County do the same?  Is it too difficult to ask NJDOC for a copy and then adopt it?  Even if they required the same guns and ammo as are used on duty, to eliminate an "extra" qualification time, they would be affording their officers at least a fighting chance.  Reasonably, the officers must also understand that the dollar is a deciding factor everywhere and those "famous" few who want not only to carry but to carry for free should put their priorities in line and realize that a great many Municipal Police Officers wind up buying our own off duty weapons too. If the expense is the real issue in Middlesex County then such a compromise would make your argument that much more solid.  Let's remember that the more friendly guns there are the better all of our chances are.  After all, the criminals allow their troops to carry...why don't we? 

 

       Middlesex County...grow up.  Get into the 21st Century.  All of your officers are potential targets and must be able to protect themselves and their families.  Contrary to popular belief, it is next to impossible for us (local PD) to arrive "in time".  Your people endure the worst of the worst to protect you.  Now protect them.  Fair is fair.  If you think it's too expensive, wait until someone gets hurt and see how cheap that is.  Have you any doubt that each and every one of these articles will show up in Court?"

 

April 24, 2003

       "Thank you for this excellent article to this serious topic. Hopefully this article and reactions will help pave the way to our right to carry and protect ourselves and family from the criminals we deal with on a daily basis. Maybe if I wore a suit to work and not a blue uniform and hide in the office everyday i would not care either, since that man never wore the uniform anyway. I'm sure if these political cronies wore the blue 40 hours a week ,we would not be talking about this topic.

 

          -Anonymous 

          -Local #152

 

April 23, 2003

       "There are three reasons why corrections officers in Middlesex county can not and will not carry firearms...money, denial, and money.  The warden and freeloaders deny that we are true law enforcement officers and the almighty dollar.  We are the only dept. in Middlesex to actually turn a profit for the county and yet we still do get the most basic training that is done while on duty.  Not one extra penny spent on the people who deal with the dirt ball all star team every day. Why don't the freeloaders take one tenth of the money we earn them by housing INS detainees and spend it on firearms and other training.  answer...they sold everything else in the county and can't afford it.  they know not what we do...why should they care?"

 

          -Anon Sgt. at the MCDOC

 

April 22, 2003

       "Let us all in law enforcement unite together and publicly approach the politicians and expose them to the very citizens we protect.  No double talking politician would have the guts to stand up against law enforcement and the public.  Count me in!"

 

          -Mike C.     

 

April 21, 2003

       "Let's just hope that the next time Dave Crabiel is about to be the victim of a crime, there is an off duty correction officer who can't carry his weapon standing next to him...think about it!!!"

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 20, 2003

       "The bottom line here is law enforcement administrators and dept. heads do not do what you do, could not do what you do, and never had to do what you do. it's also what we call the nature of the beast. I know my warden can carry a concealed firearm, but his rank and file can not. government needs to check themselves with regards to qualifications of such an appointment. Here's a start: you must have law enforcement experience!!! it makes me sick to think anyone could be put in a position to manage a department when he or she has never been in the trenches themselves. to know it...is to do it!!! to understand it...is to do it!!! how dare ye cast a stone from a plushy office of glass. walk with us on that thin blue line. I guess some of them didn't attend the same cop-to-cop seminar. but then again, why would they.  I feel for you at Middlesex County."

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 18, 2003

       "The death of the Fair Lawn Police Officer today and the recent deaths of 2 NYPD Dets. just goes to show what law enforcement in our area are up against; insane criminals that carry firearms and would rather take a life to get away then go back to a place we (Corrections Officers) house them. I just can't stop thinking about what would have happened if an off duty CO (no weapon) came upon this scene. I can give you my opinion though. I would have no doubt that that CO would have been powerless to help a fallen brother and sister, but would have tried regardless and the article we all woke up to this morning would have read this way; A POLICE OFFICER AND AN OFF DUTY CORRECTION OFFICER......No need to say anymore."

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 18, 2003

       "As a concerned wife of a Correctional Officer, the right to carry off duty needs to be allowed. I don't know these fools that are lurking in the streets who may be plotting to do something to my husband or our family. It is a very uncomfortable feeling to know this and be without protection. These inmates are ticked off because something in their life made them this way. Now they have to do time which adds more pent up frustration. So now they release their anger on the first people that they see while locked up, the CO's, not the Warden or the County Freeholders. The CO's have to be able to protect themselves and their family from these inmates when off duty. They are dealing with individuals that are mad with the world! Inmates start fights with each other and CO's to try to get the upper hand or to feel in control. Just imagine what they are capable of in the streets. They have access to weapons and can follow through on their threats. The CO's aren't the ones making life decisions for them because of their behavior. Due to the unpredictability of an inmate, CO's should be able to carry off duty weapons. I want my husband to be able to protect us, if it came down to it, from these criminals. Calling 911 from a cell phone, when you have an Officer right there who can react, is insane...that's if you can get good reception."

 

          -Very Concerned Wife of a

           Correctional Officer

 

April 18, 2003

       "Great article. I have seen released inmates at malls, movie theaters and restaurants. What is amazing is that they see you before you see them. They have seen me with my family and luckily they did not start an altercation, but who knows what is going on in the back of their minds. We are sitting ducks for these inmates who are gang members or INS detainees who might have some terrorist ties. We have no clue what type of individuals maybe lurking or stalking us due to our profession. "What should I do?", call a municipal cop that went to the same police academy as I did or wait for an individual to injure or kill me or my family. Then it is too late for answers. There is not a person who will not protect their family and their own life to the end.  Yes, we should have the right to carry off duty or be given the option to carry off duty. The inmates don't know the County Freeholders or the Warden. They know the Correctional Officers that they have one on one contact with everyday."

 

          -BIG WIL 

 

April 17, 2003

       "Here is a slightly different view on C/O's. I work as a Juvenile Detention officer in Passaic County.. and I'm sorry, but when I'm off duty and walking the streets of Paterson for whatever reason, I see these drug, rapist, murderers on the streets talking about they are going to have me hit. I get threats left and right in the detention center about how they will attack me on the streets when they get out. Even one of our Sr. officers got beat up real badly on the streets because the Sr. officer gave the resident room time while he was locked up. I agree that we do not deserve guns because I still think that shooting a juvenile is not the answer, but I do believe we could have a little more than hand cuffs and a glove pouch. There have been many times were I stopped a resident from stabbing me with a shank. I'm just speaking out about those who work as a Juvenile detention officer.. We are still under law enforcement and to this day, I have no protection on the streets when these kids get out.. they are no better than the adults that are locked up in the county jail. Any one have a view on this please leave a response."

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 16, 2003

       "It is appalling that in this day and age of international terrorism, in the very shadows of the fallen World Trade Centers that sworn law enforcement officers are being denied the right to carry. This flies in the face of Homeland Security, it flies in the face of public safety, it flies in the face of protecting our families and ourselves, and it flies in the face of logic. In the United States Correctional Officers have been gunned down in the streets, targeted for hits, and assaulted in their own communities merely because they are brave enough and courageous enough to be Correctional Officers. These are facts, they are the facts that all Correctional Officers live with. Shame on anyone or any organization who would be so short sighted and ill-informed to deny this right.

 

         -Brian Dawe

         -Exec Director, Corrections USA 

 

April 14, 2003

       "I agree with the article, as I am sure all of my fellow officers do in Middlesex County. It is a shame that under New Jersey law we are Law Enforcement but to our own freeholders we are not recognized as such. We all need to take a stand and support each other!!!!!!!!!"

 

          Robert Bender

          PBA Local 152

 

April 14, 2003

       "Middlesex County has 200+ officers who must go thru a academy and qualify with a firearm to obtain their job. The warden at Middlesex has no academy training, no experience( walking a TIER!!), but he can protect his family because he can carry off duty. while the 200+ officers must all get promoted to the rank of SGT to carry off duty. So I ask who is in charge of the jail, the warden or the freeholders??!!"

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 9, 2003

       "Totally agree with the article 100 percent, maybe we need to educate the Freeholders about all aspects of our job and relay to them that WE ARE Law Enforcement, maybe they don't know any better."

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 9, 2003

       "Great article! I feel that the county issues need to be fixed, then the NJDOC'S one year policy should be next!!!"

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 9, 2003

       "There is nothing else to be said.  You have made your point very clear in your article. I hope the powers that be get rid of their egos and political pawns and move towards doing what's right and correct for those Correctional Officers that put their life on the line day in and day out everyday."

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 8, 2003

       "CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS HAVE THE MOST DANGER AND THE LEAST GLAMOUR IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, THIS CLOWN FREEHOLDER CAN BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE BY POWER OF AN EDUCATED AND OUTSPOKEN PUBLIC ON THIS PERSONAL ISSUE FOR CO'S."

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 8, 2003

       "Great article and no one knows better then the Officers at Middlesex County where we the Officers are not allow to carry off duty due to someone showing his his Freeholders Power."

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 8, 2003

       "This article hits the nail right on the head.  Especially the part about the particular officers who pose a threat.  They should punished...not the entire department.  Hopefully those who need to read this article do."

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 8, 2003

       "I'D like to thank you for shedding light on this particular subject. We need to show some of our brother C/O's are being denied their basic right under 2C!"

 

          -J. Graffagnino

          -PBA Local 152

 

April 7, 2003

       "Great article with great points!! Let hope it falls on the right ears! Let's support our fellow officers!"

 

          -J. Doda

          -PBA Local 152

 

April 6, 2003

       "Thank you for bringing this issue to this forum. I hope C/O's use the message board and let it be known where they stand on this issue."

 

          -J. Miller

          -PBA Local 152

 

April 6, 2003

       "Great article, I hope this will help. This issue really needs to be addressed."

 

          -Anonymous

 

April 5, 2003

       "Only one word can explain the article, (EXCELLENT)."

 

           -Anonymous