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News

Senate Committee Passes Amended 20 & Out Bill

After several days of discussions between the State PBA and Senate leaders, the Senate Budget Committee yesterday amended and moved forward Senate Bill 1017 to restore the 20s and Out benefit for PFRS members. 

There is no question that the anti-police rhetoric and attacks on our profession from politicians and special interest groups has caused many officers to consider an early retirement.  While there is overwhelming support to restore the 20 year retirement option, the potential stress that this could cause to the funding of the PFRS was a concern for some legislators. In order to get the ball moving on more quickly offering this benefit amendments were proposed in the Budget Committee to provide a roughly 2 year window for early retirements.

The amended bill would reestablish a 20 year retirement option for anyone currently enrolled, regardless of their year of enrollment in PFRS, but the benefit would be frozen again 25 months after the bill becomes law.  This will allow the State to analyze the impact of the retirement benefit for consideration of making the benefit permanent. 

While we would prefer that 20 and Out become permanent now this amendment makes it more likely the bill can move swiftly while its fiscal impact is analyzed in real time. 

The bill now requires a full Senate vote and consideration by the Assembly Budget Committee and the full Assembly. 

State PBA President Statement on Court Ruling on AG Discipline Releases

We remain disappointed that this issue is being fought in the courts, especially since we have consistently said that we are willing to work with the Attorney General towards a fair resolution.

The ruling today that supports the Attorney General’s decree is yet another attack against the good men and women in law enforcement serving communities honorably throughout New Jersey.

The Attorney General should know that there is very little benefit to publicly shaming law enforcement officers past and present. While we do not oppose releasing information on officers who violate the public trust or the civil rights of our citizens, “major discipline” in this decree is often a compilation of minor events or departmental rule infractions that led to a suspension of more than five days. Unfortunately, this type of discipline varies wildly from Department to Department. This document dump therefore is misleading the public about officer behavior and we believe the only outcome will be to discredit all of law enforcement.

We will not protect bad actors who violate the public trust and the civil rights of our citizens, but the Attorney General’s decree being moved through the courts is sacrificing individual fairness for a political soundbite. We believe there are much better solutions to address officer misconduct and we find it to be stunning that the Attorney General refused our outreach to implement them and even more puzzling that he hasn’t given his own programs on training, officer intervention programs and resiliency a chance to prove they can work.

NJ Cop Shot Offering $20K Reward for Information on Shooting of City of Camden Officers

NJ COPSHOT is offering an additional $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspect(s) involved in a shooting of police officers in the City of Camden.

On Tuesday evening, September 15th, 2020 unknown gunmen opened fire on a home on the 2900 block of Clinton Street in Camden City. The home was occupied by two police officers and their 10 day old infant when six rounds struck their home.

Anyone with information is asked to call Camden County Police Department at (856) 757-7042or the Citizens Crime Commission at (215) 546-TIPS.

For additional information: https://6abc.com/2-shooters-open-fire-on-home-of-nj-officers;-manhunt-underway/6431214/

The NJ COP SHOT Program is administered by the NJ State PBA Survivor and Welfare Fund. Rewards of $20,000 will be offered for the arrest and conviction of individuals responsible for the shooting, killing or seriously wounding any New Jersey Law Enforcement Officer regardless of union or department affiliation.

Current Law Prohibits Release of LEO Personal Info

In the wake of violence and social media threats against law enforcement officers the State PBA has been asked for information regarding preventing the release and posting of personal information, addresses and phone numbers of officers.  Please be aware that existing New Jersey Law already prohibits disclosing, circulating, publishing or posting on the Internet the home address or unpublished home telephone number of any retired law enforcement officer, law enforcement officer or spouse or child of a law enforcement officer.  The Law, P.L. 2015, c. 226, makes it up to a 3rddegree crime and it applies to any private citizen, governmental entity, business or association that discloses an officers personal information.  An officer whose personal information is posted online can seek damages under the law in Superior Court as well. 

A copy of the law can be found here: https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/PL15/226_.PDF

Any active or retired officer whose rights are violated by the release of their personal information should immediately seek to protect themselves under the law and press charges when appropriate in order to protect themselves and their families from harassment.  Please stay safe.

Colligan/Kovar Meet with Trump at the White House July 31, 2020

State PBA President Pat Colligan and Executive Vice President Marc Kovar today joined NAPO leaders from around the United States at the White House to meet with President Trump and Vice President Pence to discuss combatting the national anti-police sentiment and to announce NAPO’s endorsement of the President’s re-election.

NAPO recently voted to endorse the President after backing former Vice President Biden in 2008 and 2012.  President Trump has frequently spoken out in favor of the nation’s law enforcement officers and he has been especially supportive recently as some public officials have spoken out against and threatened to defund law enforcement.  

President Colligan and Executive Vice President Kovar both spoke to the President during the meeting with NAPO leaders to express the disappointment of the State PBA in those officials that criticize law enforcement officers while ignoring the outbreak of lawlessness and murder that has spread across the nation.

Executive Vice President Kovar, who serves as a NAPO elected officer, told the President: “Too many elected officials have let us down despite the fact that New Jersey officers do their job professionally and with less need for force than officers in nearly every other State.”

President Colligan has been outspoken that the public campaign against the police is not only bad for morale and officer safety but the effort to limit the powers and response of the police is empowering a dangerous criminal element in too many places.

The meeting at the White House was also attended by PBA and NAPO leaders from New York, Florida, Massachusetts and Texas as well.  The President once again reiterated his support for the law enforcement community and pledged to continue to fight to keep officers and our communities safe. 

View Official Announcement Here

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President's Message

Patrick Colligan, NJSPBA President Patrick Colligan, President

If they can do it to us…

This year has certainly been one for the ages. A global pandemic, hurricanes, wildfires, the most divisive presidential election in our history, the murder of George Floyd, an asteroid that might hit be-fore election day and – because we haven’t had quite enough yet – murder hornets. I can hardly wait for November and December!

Needless to say, a few of these issues have had a profound effect on us in New Jersey. Twelve New Jersey officers lost their lives to COVID-19. Nine of them were PBA members. Some 120 officers throughout the country succumbed to the horrible disease, and tens of thousands of our brother and sister officers were profoundly affected. Many will never return to work.

As bad as we thought COVID was, May 25 was a day that changed policing forever. Some changes certainly will be for the better. Some will be downright dangerous, not only for the women and men who choose to do this job, but also for the citizens we’ve sworn to protect and serve.

So let’s fast forward to the federal Justice in Policing Act. In the rush to “do some-thing,” Congress drafted a really bad bill. The group that enjoys absolute immunity wants to take away our qualified immunity. I hope the “qualified” sufficiently describes our immunity. Yes, you are correct. We have to qualify for the immunity from lawsuits filed for damages resulting our mistakes. If you chose to act in a way that shocks the conscience or is so outside the norms of normal police work, you’re on your own. (And frankly, you should be). We make mistakes, no doubt about it. We aren’t Walmart greeters. We are in a dangerous and often ugly business. But many forget about that.

Some members of our New Jersey congressional delegation chose to sign onto that bill. One of them was even a co-sponsor. We’ve enjoyed some very close relationships and friendships with our delegation over the years. I hope I don’t have to tell you we were on the phone immediately after that bill came up. Marc, Rob and I were on some very long calls telling representatives exactly what that would do to our members and the very future of recruiting qualified candidates. A severe recruiting problem already exists.

There was no ambiguity in our conversations whatsoever. Removing qualified immunity was an absolute line in the sand. Of course, they were free to support the bill, but not without consequences.

I guess more than one of these elected officials thought we were bluffing. As they know by now, we weren’t. We have either walked away from our support or backed another congressional candidate. Yes, not without repercussions, but I live by a pretty simple rule in my life: Win, lose or draw, the day I can’t look myself in the mirror, I’ll walk away from this position.

Their unanimous answer of “it’s not passing anyway” was a shallow, feeble excuse. Depending on this election, that bill will probably be back and the “it’s not passing anyway” excuse won’t be such a shallow answer anymore.

So the delegation says, “If they do it to us, they can do it to anybody.” Not so quick folks. Maybe you weren’t listening to us on those calls. It was a line in the sand and unlike some of you, I mean what I say. The difference is, I can still proudly look at myself in a mirror today.

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