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NJSPBA PRESIDENT COLLIGAN APPLAUDS APPELLATE COURT OF NEW JERSEY RULING ON AG’s DIRECTIVES

Calling it a “great first step”, New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan today released the following statement thanking the Appellate Division for granting the request by the State PBA and a number of other law enforcement unions for a stay of the Attorney General's Directives requiring law enforcement agencies to release the names of law enforcement officers who were issued major discipline since 2000. 
 
A number of law enforcement agencies intended to release and publish this information by July 15th.  This means that law enforcement agencies cannot publish the names of law enforcement officers who have been issued major discipline and summaries of that discipline pending further order of the Court. 
 
Colligan and the NJSPBA were among a number of concerned members of the law enforcement community who immediately rushed to the defense of members of law enforcement to ensure that confidential and personal files could not be simply released by fiat with no examination of the legality and potentially devastating consequences that will surely accompany the Attorney General’s decree.
 
“We have consistently said that we are willing to work with the Attorney General towards a resolution that is fair, just as we always have,” said Colligan.  “In the absence of partnership that allows us all to root out bad actors without sacrificing individuals who will be unfairly ruined in the rush to secure a soundbite, we will continue to pursue any and all legal remedies.  We know that this is an ongoing process, but this ruling is a great first step for our members and for the public at large.”
 
The case will be argued before the Appellate Division in October and the Appellate Division will issue a decision on whether to permanently stay the Attorney General's Directives. 

Tags: AG
NJSPBA Response to Attorney General Tweet

We are very disappointed the Attorney General has chosen to attack our integrity with his tweets.  He knows us better than that and we have always managed to work together productively to benefit our law enforcement community.  Unfortunately his decision to release major disciplinary records is an overreach that violates the rights of our active and retired members.  We don’t want bad cops in our midst.  But this directive does nothing to keep bad cops off the streets.  His order, done with zero prior discussion with New Jerseys law enforcement professionals, serves no public safety purpose. The order doesn’t provide any context to the discipline, it has no bearing on an officers ability to do his job honorably, it punishes those who already have been disciplined and it only serves as salacious material for the media and those who hate the police.  Instead of tweeting the AG can call us back to the table and rewrite this policy so it makes sense.  Otherwise he leaves us no choice but to ask the courts to correct this error. 

Governor Signs Legislation Providing Pension Benefits for PFRS Covid Victims

Governor Murphy last night signed several pieces of legislation last night including several of interest to the State PBA:

Coronavirus Deaths and Illness eligible for Benefits

Most importantly the Governor signed a bill to provide that PFRS members who contract the coronavirus and develop serious health problems or pass away are eligible for PFRS accidental disability or death benefits.  The final version of the bill, a State PBA priority, was crafted by us to ensure the membership was offered the most access possible to these benefits. This will provide important protections for any officer who became ill or died and for those still facing the disease.  To be eligible for the benefits a member must:

The member contracts COVID-19 and tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 during the public health emergency and is disabled from it as a result;

The member’s regular or assigned duties required the member to interact, and the member so interacted, with the public or to directly supervise other personnel so interacting with the public on any date during the public health emergency and within 14 calendar days prior to the appearance of symptoms consistent with COVID-19 that were confirmed in writing by a licensed health care provider on a form approved by the board of trustees and also confirmed by a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2;

A member who retired during the public health emergency may apply for a retirement allowance pursuant to this bill.

For an accidental death benefit, a member whose death is attributable to COVID-19, complications therefrom, or the aggravation or acceleration of a preexisting condition caused thereby will be deemed to have occurred as the result of an accident met in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place if:

The member contracted COVID-19 and the member’s death occurs after receiving a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2 during thepublic health emergency;

The member’s regular or assigned duties required the member to interact, and the member so interacted, with the public or to directly supervise other personnel so interacting with the public on any date during the public health emergency and within 14 calendar daysprior to the appearance of symptoms consistent with COVID-19 that were confirmed in writing by a licensed health care provider on a form approved by the board of trustees and also confirmed by a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2;

 Eligibility for consideration for these benefits is retroactive to March 9, 2020.

IA Files Must Be Reviewed By Prospective Department

The Governor also signed legislation to require local governments to transfer the Internal Affairs files for law enforcement officers who seek employment with a different law enforcement agency.  The practice is already required by a new Attorney General rule.  And the files must remain confidential under the new law.

Governor Signs NJEA Health Care Reform

Finally, the Governor signed the NJEA health care reform proposal.  Our belief based on a review of the bill is that it would not benefit State PBA members or do away with the costs associated with their Chapter 78 contributions. In fact, this proposal could reduce benefits and still remain as costly for many State PBA members if applied to law enforcement. However, the Senate President has been steadfast in his commitment to work with the State PBA on our proposals for reducing the cost of health care while providing us Chapter 78 relief.

UPDATE - NJ Law Enforcement Unions United in Opposition to AG Directive - UPDATE

The State PBA, along with the STFA, State Police NCO Association and the FOP, along with PBA locals representing officers in the DCJ and JJC have filed emergent appeals with the Appellate Division to enjoin the Attorney General from implementing the two Directives ordering and authorizing the release of names of officers who received major discipline with summaries of the discipline and the sanctions imposed.  The Attorney General ordered the State Police, the DCJ and JJC to release the information retroactive to 2000 by July 15th.  We are asking the court to bar the Attorney General from ordering and authorizing the release of this information by July 15th or at any time after that pending the outcome of the appeal.

State PBA President Statement: AG “Major Discipline” Directive - June 15, 2020

The State PBA has for decades fought to make New Jersey’s law enforcement officers the most professional and best trained in the nation.  While we too are angered when police officers abuse their power, we also believe that everyone deserves to be treated equally under the law.  Police officers especially.  Unfortunately, the Attorney General’s “Major Discipline” Directive does not treat every officer equally. 

While the term “major discipline” sounds like an officer has severely violated the public trust, in reality police officer discipline wildly differs from town to town.  Major discipline in some places could be handed down for a uniform violation.  The Attorney General’s Directive is far too broad and it treats all officers unequally.  While we have pledged to work with the Attorney General on enhancing our profession this new policy does not recognize those arbitrary differences.  The Policy is going to smear officers unfairly who have not violated the public trust and I would respectfully suggest it needs to go back to the drawing board.

I have directed Legal Counsel for the State PBA to review the policy to ensure that officer rights are protected.

View Official Statement Here

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President's Message

Patrick Colligan, NJSPBA President Patrick Colligan, President
April 22, 2020

In light of the recent events in our country, around the world and now in our own back yard with COVID-19, the NJ State PBA would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to you and your families. We realize that we are in uncharted waters and stressful times. The enemy we are fighting cannot be seen and we are taking extraordinary measures to protect our citizens, members and our families. During such times, there is a significant amount of fear and worry surrounding the Corona virus or COVID-19. High levels of anxiety are not uncommon during periods of uncertainty. It is essential that you control what you can and stay grounded in reality based on facts and real evidence, not fear. Reassurance is an important antidote to fear and uncertainty. Knowing that we will get through these challenging times stronger than we were before facing this invisible adversary is what Resilience is all about.

Because there are so many unknowns surrounding the Corona virus it becomes difficult to feel emotionally and physically safe. In essence we are all struggling with not being in control. Remember, control gives us a sense of safety and reassurance. So what can you do to help reassure yourself that you are going to be okay? It is important to plan and prepare and not catastrophize the situation. There are some news stations that promote fear and worry. I would recommend that you limit your exposure to those news channels. We want to stay informed, we want to plan and not react.

As a service to our members I would like to remind all of you of the current mental health services that the NJSPBA provides to all of its members. Our clinical coordinator Dr. Eugene Stefanelli as well as Dr. Michael Bizzarro are available to conduct scheduled telephonic sessions during these difficult times. We recommend texting or calling to schedule telephonic sessions. (Emergencies bypass all protocols). This is an added service to provide ongoing support while many of you continue to serve and protect the public at risk to yourselves and your families.

We will continue to support our membership by encouraging members to reach out to our clinicians as well as members of our Peer Response Assistance Team.

Peer Assistance Response Team

Dr. Eugene Stefanelli Clinical Services Director
Cell 732-609-3554/973-768-5300

Mauro Farallo Peer Liaison Committee Chairman
Cell 973-902-7821

Cherie Castellano Executive Director Cop-2-Cop
Hotline 866-267-2267

Dr. Michael Bizzarro (Back up on call doctor)
Cell 732-771-7165

Kenneth Burkert Volunteer Peer Liaison
Cell 908-346-1691

Father John McCrone Clergy for NJSPBA
Cell 201-707-2678

Father John McCrone Clergy for NJSPBA
Cell 201-707-2678

Be Smart-Be Prepared- Take Precautions
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