RWJ Barnabas Executive Davis’ New Brunswick PD Ride-Along Cancelled

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

I reached out to the New Brunswick Police Department today and asked them to cancel the ride-along scheduled tonight for RWJ Barnabas Executive Michellene Davis.  New Brunswick police agreed and the ride-along is officially canceled. In my opinion, the ride-long was turning into a media spectacle.  This was never my intention.  My responsibilities and loyalties are with the 33,000+ members of the NJSPBA, not the RWJ Barnabas Health public relations team.

As background, in response to an anti-law enforcement social media post by RWJ Barnabas Health Executive Michellene Davis, I went live on 101.5FM radio at 8:08am the morning the story broke and publicly called her and her employer out for anti-police bias.  I called her social media post ignorant and irresponsible that morning and I stand by those thoughts today.

At the time, I also challenged Ms. Davis to put on a bullet proof vest and ride along with police, an offer that she accepted.  I contacted New Brunswick police and they agreed to invite Ms. Davis on a ride-along.  I believe that to change anti-police bias we need to educate community influencers. The ride-along was always intended to show Ms. Davis first-hand what law enforcement has to experience each and every shift— for her to spend a night in our shoes.  I have not been asked by anyone at any time to “fix” this situation, and the ride-along challenge was made before RWJ Barnabas made any decision on Ms. Davis’ employment status.

After the controversy broke, Ms. Davis offered the following apology on social media: “I want to publicly apologize for an extremely insensitive and offensive comment posted on Facebook.  My concern for the safety of schoolchildren and gun violence led me to react to a headline without thinking. Having a late sister and other family in law enforcement I deeply respect the law enforcement community and appreciate their service and admire their sacrifice.”

Ms. Davis’ ignorant Facebook comment and the resulting media coverage shed light on what I believe is one of the most important things for law enforcement.  We must all stand together because any attack on law enforcement, regardless of whether the attack is on a local patrol officer or the state’s top law enforcement officer, is an attack on us all. 
Pat Colligan
President, NJSPBA