State F.O.P. News Updates

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January 09, 2011

The Civil Service Commission has Updated Police Promotional Testing on its Website 
The New Jersey Civil Service Commision notified the State Lodge of the anticipated resolution of a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against the state and its police promotional exam.  A notice will be emailed to local lodges of the terms of consent decree as well as instructions on filing objections to the decree at a open fairness hearing.  The notice further advises that the dates for promotional testing have been postponed indefinately.
Additional information can be found on the Civil Service Commissions website.  

Jaunuary 09, 2011

Protecting the Rights of Our Members 
Last night's action by the legislature in passing Assembly Bill A-3876 and sending it to the governor for his signature was the Culmination of the effort of the F.O.P. to protect the rights of our members who have been laid off due to the economy.  If signed into law, our brothers and sisters who have been out of work for an extended period of time will have their Police Training Commission Certification extended from the previous 3 years to 5 years.  This was accomplished through the efforts of your State Lodge staff and our professional lobbyist


November 10, 2011                                                 

Special Notice for Chapter 330 Retirees

Contrary to what has been reported by the representatives of the state's newly created "State Health Benefits Plan Design Committee", substantial changes were made to the State Health Benefits Plan that will be costly to Chapter 330 Retirees.  For example, a retiree who in 2011 opted for the Aetna HMO for a family plan, paid $385.66 per month for health insurance.  The same plan will cost the retiree $631.92 in 2012.  Unfortunately, the open enrollment period expires on November 11, 2011 so it is imperative for members to review their individual circumstances and plans and make any changes before Friday.  Below is a link to a printable comparison document and a link to the State Health Benefits Website.   We, at the State Office apologize for the late notice but we only just discovered the hidden charges thanks to alert members.  

Updated 10/19/11

NJ Attorney General Approves Taser's for Use by Police
New Jersey Attorney General Paula T. Dow announced approved devices in her revised "Stun Gun" policy.  The New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police has long advocated for the availability of these electronic control devices for law enforcement officers in NJ.  These devices provide an extra measure of safety for officers in the performance of their duty.  

08/31/2011

In an unprecedented action, the leaders of all the major public sector unions in the State of New Jersey have jointly filed suit against the governor and the legislature for violating the constitutionally guaranteed rights of more than 500,000 workers in the state.  The F.O.P. has worked closely with the state’s public sector unions from the very beginning because it recognized the union busting sentiment of the governor and others in the legislature.  This process is part of the ongoing bleeding of cash from the unions by anti-union politicians who continue to refuse to accept their responsibility in creating the financial crisis within government.  The F.O.P. continues to be at the forefront of statewide action to protect the rights, benefits and salaries of the professional law enforcement officers who protect our communities

 Responsibilities of Membership
In the upcoming issue of the FOP News there appears an article that asks every members to send a completed form letter to the members of the New Jersey Legislature in the district where they vote.  Our members have been catagorized by politicians as being part of a "Special Interest Group" because they only hear from your State Lodge Officers in Trenton.  It is vital that all our members voices be heard so that the message is clear and simple.  
Link to Letter
Link to NJ Legislators

Updated 2/1/11
 F.O.P. Labor Council Director Selected to State Arbitration Task Force
Ron Bakley was selected by State Senate President Stephen Sweeney to review arbitration awards and collective bargaining agreements for public safety unions in New Jersey.  This prestigous selection further demonstrates the active participation in all matters related to law enforcement in the state.
Click here for the Media Annoucement


Updated 1/31/11
 Labor Council Announcement


Updated 1/27/11
New and Updated Employment Opportunities
The F.O.P. continues to reach out to cities all across America who are looking for qualified and trained police officers.  Through the nationwide connections found only in the F.O.P. we have added more information to our "Members Only" section.  We remain committed to assisting our members finding employment in these difficult economic times.  


Updated 1/27/11
 Civil Service Announcement
The 2010/2011 Police Sergeant testing process has been modified to include both a written (multiple-choice) component, as well as a video-based, essay component. Much time and research has already been devoted to the development of this new testing format. However, the CSC is currently experiencing unforeseen delays associated with certain aspects of the new testing process. For these reasons, the anticipated test date must be postponed from January to early April, 2011.  Updated information regarding the new testing process is now available in the 2010 Police Sergeant Orientation Guide which may be found at: http://www.state.nj.us/csc/jobs/guides.htm.  Eligible lists which are set to expire in February, 2011, and have not reached their four-year statutory limit, will be extended until new lists are available
Law Enforcement Report


Updated 1/19/11
The State F.O.P. is Nationally Recognized as the Leader in New Jersey
The Bureau of National Affairs Inc. in its most recent "Government Employee Relations Report:" reached out to President Brannigan for his insight on a number of topics of concern to law enforcement.  An article on the governor's pension reform proposals can also be found in the report. A copy of the report can be viewed using the link below.
Government Employee Relations Report


Updated 1/12/11
 Police Pensions and Benefits
The governor, in his State of the State Address yesterday announced what the New Jersey F.O.P. has been expecting from him for some time.  He will be coming after each of our Pensions and Benefits in the coming year, regardless of whether you are an active employee or a retiree.  In his speech he employed the same sort of rhetoric that has polarized the residents of our state.  He blamed the high taxes and loss of wealth found within the state on the hard working, honest public servants of New Jersey.  "Benefits are too rich, and contributions are too small" are how our pensions were described to the residents of our state by Governor Christie.  The governor proposed the following:  Raising the Eligibility Age for Retirement, Curb Cost of Living Adjustments for Retirees, and Raising Contributions for Employees.  He said that then, he would make statutorily required payments to the pension fund.  The state's contribution stands in arrears more than $3,500,000,000.00.  The New Jersey State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police has asserted from the beginning that the deliberate and intentional failure to make contributions required by law, constituted a willful act of misconduct and since 2004, it has had a lawsuit against the State, its legislature and its State Treasurer for failing to make its payments.  The F.O.P. put its money where its mouth was.  When other so-called "police organizations" were making back door deals that marginalized our position and your pension fund's future, the F.O.P. was fighting for your rights.  Those deals failed and left the pension systems in even worse shape.  The time for action is now.  Call your legislators and let them know how you feel about the state cutting your benefits and pensions.
Link to Read the 2011 State of the State Address

Link to Find your Legislator


Updated 1/11/11
Suicide Awareness and Prevention Video
New Jersey's Law Enforcement community faces tremendous stress daily.  Our members are tasked with responsibilities found in no other profession.  In support of our members, the New Jersey State Lodge partnered with professionals from many disciplines and the New Jersey Attorney General's Office to develop a video to raise awareness of the unfortunate toll job stress places on our members.  This video will be presented in training to police across the state to demonstrate to them that they are not alone,  that help is available and that we are united as a profession to conqure the causes of police suicide.
Link to Video

September 28, 2010

The F.O.P. - Protecting Jobs, Saving Taxpayer Dollars
Every cop knows the value of training.  Thanks to the hard work of the State Lodge and our local lodge leaders, taxpayer dollars will not have been wasted in the layoff of dozens of cops.  Your F.O.P. has been working with legislators to protect the public investment in hundreds of cops statewide to not only protect their jobs, but to ensure that tax dollars are not wasted.  Through legislation, we have started the process of ensuring the re-hiring of officers who were laid off during their working test periods.  These officers had passed a mandated background investigation, which usually involves hundreds of hours of intense review by experienced law enforcement professionals.  These officers completed an equally intensive and thoroughly comprehensive police academy training program.  In addition, many officers were in their field training programs, but had not yet received permanent appointment, thus given no rehire privileges under the law.  The cost of that investment in hiring and training professional police officers would have been a waste if not for the continued efforts of the F.O.P.  We have partnered with legislators, State Senator Ron Rice and Assemblyman Albert Coutinho on an F.O.P. Initiative that would protect those jobs and many more like them.
 Call your legislators and ask that they support A-3232/S-2274.

Link to View Bills


September 14, 2010

Governor Christie's Plan to ReWrite Police Pensions
Today, in a staged event, Governor Christie dropped the hammer on thousands of current public employees.  The speech witnessed by our members in Gloucester Township as well as by National Trustee Ron Bakely, turns back the clock nearly 30 years.  The governor's proposal puts a PFRS "Special Retirement" pension for 25 years service at 60% of an average of the highest three years of compensation with increases of 1% for each year of service to 65%.  
New Jersey law enforcement officers already pay 8.5% of their base salary toward their pensions, one of he highest percentages in the nation.  Governor Christie proposed raising that amount to 10%.  In addition, health care premium sharing would be changed to 30% of the total cost, as opposed to the current 1.5% of base salary.
Legislation to make the changes proposed by the governor have not yet been introduced, but if or when they are, we will aggressively address our members concerns.  Rest assured, the State Lodge will be working with members of the state legislature to protect the rights of our members, now and in the future.  We will inform you on future events.  The best way to keep up to date on what's going on is to sign up for "Email Blasts".  Members wishing to receive Email Blasts from President Brannigan should Email their requests to the New Jersey State Lodge Office at
njfop@fop.net .  Please include in your email your name and membership number.

July 14, 2010

 

Statement from
Edward R. Brannigan

President
Fraternal Order of Police - New Jersey State Chapter

The New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police respectfully but vigorously disagrees with Senate President Steve Sweeney's recent remarks that laying off police officers does not constitute a "state of emergency" under the recently enacted 2% statutory cap on municipal spending.

The loss of police officers has a direct impact on public safety, especially during this period of heightened concern over terrorism.  Just today we were reminded that we must remain vigilant against terrorism.  Police officers in Newark discovered a vehicle carrying what appears to be gasoline containers connected by wires to a device.  The vehicle was parked under a railroad pass that carries Amtrak and NJ Transit trains.

Our nation's terrorism threat level is Elevated, which means there is a significant risk of terrorist attacks.  Laying off police officers during what is essentially a state of emergency will leave the public more vulnerable to both terrorism and domestic crime and should be regarded as exempt from the new cap law.

When government can't combat crime and protect its citizens from terrorism because of a lack of police officers, that obviously constitutes a state of emergency.

We take issue with Senate President Sweeney's remarks while also appreciative of his successful efforts to prevent an amendment to the state constitutional that would have strictly capped municipal spending.  We are similarly appreciative of his work to permit the public to override with a simple majority vote a statutorily imposed spending cap.

The NJFOP strongly opposed any changes to the original 4% cap and its 14 exceptions, and worked with Senate President Sweeney on the compromise only when it became clear that legislative approval for a newer and stricter cap was inevitable.

Steve Eckel
for
Police and Fire Retirement System
Pension Trustee

 

eckel.jpg

"Your State Lodge Representative"
There is No Substitution for Experience...
EXCEPT COMPLACENCY

2/26/2010

 

POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS TO GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: KEEP YOUR WORD; HANDS OFF BINDING ARBITRATION

(Trenton, NJ, February 26, 2010) -- The Fraternal Order of Police - New Jersey State Lodge and the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey - AFL-CIO today called on Governor Christie to stay true to his word and leave unchanged the state's binding arbitration system for municipal police officers and firefighters.

"Our board met personally with then-candidate Christie on September 3, 2009, and he looked into our eyes and promised he wouldn't touch the binding arbitration system," said Edward R. Brannigan, president of the NJFOP.  "We're asking that now-Governor Christie keep his word and not disrupt the only means of ensuring a fair playing field between police officers and municipalities."

Binding arbitration is a process for labor and management to resolve contract disputes.  Unlike other labor groups, police officers and firefighters are prohibited by law from striking.  Without the ability to strike, binding arbitration is the only means police officers and firefighters have to negotiate a fair contract.

"The legislature revised the binding arbitration process in 1996 by imposing new arbitrator guidelines that help management and giving arbitrators leeway in crafting an agreement," said Dominick Marino, president of the PFANJ.

Municipalities already benefit from safeguards built into the arbitration process, including permitting arbitrators to consider the financial status of a municipality before rendering a decision.

"Binding arbitration forces management and labor to reach an agreement," said Marino.  "During the last five years there have been just seventeen firefighter arbitration rulings, which is only about three each year.  The famous phrase 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it" certainly applies here.  Binding arbitration works.  The arbitration process compels both sides to settle and with only three binding arbitration rulings a year, the process must be working."

"It was unsettling to read that the governor suggested changes to the binding arbitration  system before a gathering of mayors," continued Brannigan.  "Men and women throughout our state put their lives in jeopardy daily to protect our communities from crime, and they deserve to be treated honestly and respectfully.  They deserve the governor to keep his word."

The Fraternal Order of Police is the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 318,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges. The FOP is the voice of those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our communities. It is committed to improving the working conditions of law enforcement officers and the safety of those we serve through education, legislation, information, community involvement, and employee representation.

The Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey is the state organization for the International Association of Firefighters, which represents over 292,000 firefighters in the United States and Canada.

#   #   #

Contact:

New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police
Edward R. Brannigan
(609) 599-1222

Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey
Dominick Marino
(609) 396-9766

02/23/2010

Senate Passes Bills on Pension, Health Care and Retiree Benefits
As reported last week in Update 2/18/10, these bills have a drastic impact on current employees.  The State Senate voted 36-0 to pass these bills yesterday.  There were 4 abstentions.  The State Lodge is working diligently to protect your hard earned benefits.  President Brannigan and State Lodge Legislative Committee Chairman Steven Demofonte have met with legislative leaders and offered suggestions to save our members benefits while at the same time providing reforms to save taxpayer money.  The State Senate ignored these suggestions.  The State Senate chose not to accept the resposibility of government and instead placed the blame on the hard working employees.  Our members have paid 8.5% of their base pay to their pensions all these years, honorably bargained for health benefits, and in many of these cases contribute towards their costs.  The State Senate has mandated that decades of collective bargaining be tossed aside.  For the State Senate to do this after the state has not make any of its required payments for 11 of the last 15 years is outrageous!

Your legislators in the State Assembly need to hear from our members immediately to stop this attack on your rights.

12/01/09

Today's
editorial in The Star-Ledger points out significant limitations to the Attorney General's new policy permitting police officers use of so-called stun guns.  Only one officer on an entire department is permitted to use a stun gun if the department's municipality has fewer than 25,000 residents.  For municipalities with at least 75,000 residents, only four officers are permitted to use stun guns.

The Star-Ledger's editorial accurately describes the shortcomings of the new policy. Although it is a step forward, the new policy is far too small a step.

For several years the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police has been the leading advocate for equipping police officers with a non-lethal alternative to firearms. Your NJFOP will continue to work with the outgoing and incoming administrations to ensure that New Jersey's police officers have access to the latest and most effective tools necessary to perform their duties while minimizing serious injury to suspects.

Fraternally,

Edward R. Brannigan
President
New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police

Nover 12, 2009

Updated 11/12/09
Leadership When It Counts!
National Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury credited New Jersey State Lodge President Edward Brannigan and Massachusetts State Lodge President Arney Larson with the final victory in opposing the invitation of a convicted terrorist leader to sit on a panel discusssion.  Ray Levasseur's "United Freedom Front" was responsible for countless bombings and bank robberies.  One of its members killed New Jersey State Trooper Phillip Lamonaco.   The F.O.P. urged all its members to join with President Brannigan in sending letters of opposition to Chancellor Robert C. Holub University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  President's Brannigan and Larson were "diligent and determined in their demand to keep a convicted terrorist from subverting the values of our impressionable youth."

July 23, 2009

Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, today released the following statement in response to President Obama's comments on the Gates case.

I am very concerned by President Obama's statement made last night in connection with the Gates matter.  President Obama, in his remarks, stated that he had not been on the scene and did not know what had happened; having said that, he then characterized the arresting officer as having acted "stupidly".
 
Police officers, like all Americans, rely on President Obama's leadership to guide us through an extraordinarily difficult period of change in a variety of areas: to be successful in this effort, he will need the help and support of all of us.  Statements of this nature, made without the facts, do little to narrow the void of distrust that too often separates the community from the men and women who work to keep it safe.
 
Sergeant James Crowley and the men and women of the Cambridge Police Department have our full support as they work their way through this matter.
 
In the short time he has been in office, President has taken a number of steps which have been very well received by the law enforcement community, such as additional funding for law enforcement grants, rejuvenation of the COPS Program, and a strong commitment to the Public Safety Officers Benefit Program, to name just a few.  The President's Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security have actively solicited our counsel on public safety issues.
 
I have advised the White House and the Justice Department of my disappointment with the remarks, and look forward to an appropriate resolution.

President Canterbury's statement is also available on the Grand Lodge website.

Sincerely,

Edward R. Brannigan
President
Fraternal Order of Police - New Jersey State Lodge

NJ FOP Announces Plans for Next Annual George Bowman Survivors Fund Golf Classic

(Trenton, NJ) -- The Fraternal Order of Police - New Jersey State Lodge (NJFOP) announces that registration and sponsorship opportunities are open for annual George Bowman Survivors Fund Golf Classic, Monday, August 3, 2009 at the Burlington Country Club, 170 Burrs Rd., Mount Holly. The George Bowman Survivors Fund is a fund organized by the NJFOP, intended to compensate the survivors and immediate families of police officers killed in the line of duty.  Named after veteran Pennsauken Patrolman George Bowman, who lost his life on duty in 1995, the Fund recognizes the commitment of law enforcement personnel to survivors' rights and benefits. The George Bowman Survivors Fund encompasses several events connecting FOP lodges throughout the state.  After 9/11, Fund monies were stretched to the breaking point as they supported the survivors of Port Authority Police personnel lost that day. The cost is $175 inclusive of lunch, golf and dinner for the day. The NJFOP is offering sponsorships at several different levels.  The deadline for ordering a sponsorship is July 15, 2009.  Donations to the George Bowman Survivors Fund are tax-deductible, and all of the proceeds from the golf tournament will go the Fund.  For more information, please visit the Web site at  www.njfop.org or contact Steve Szypulski at 609-599-1222.

Legislature for legalizing marijuana

Dear Members:

The New Jersey General Assembly is expected to consider legislation permitting marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey for so-called medical uses.  Assemblymembers need to hear from FOP members and encouraged to vote against this dangerous legislation.

You can find contact information for your local assemblymember's office by visiting:
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp

Sincerely,

Edward R. Brannigan
President
Fraternal Order of Police - New Jersey State Lodge

____________________

MARIJUANA STORES WILL INCREASE CRIME, LOCAL BUDGETS AND PROPERTY TAXES

 
TRENTON, NJ -
The New Jersey General Assembly is expected to consider legislation permitting the sale and use of so-called "medical" marijuana, warns the Fraternal Order of Police - New Jersey State Lodge.
 
Legislation would permit marijuana dispensaries - or marijuana stores - anywhere in New Jersey, where marijuana can be grown and sold, along with assorted marijuana paraphernalia.
 
"States with marijuana stores have been burdened with nuisance and violent crimes associated with them," said Edward R. Brannigan, the state FOP president.  "Marijuana stores in New Jersey will require local police departments to divert resources to prevent, and respond to, marijuana store-related crime, costing property taxpayers thousands of dollars in extra police services."
 
In California, street level marijuana dealers try to sell to people entering marijuana stores, stores have been burglarized, customers have been robbed as they leave the stores, and purchasers congregate and smoke marijuana in areas frequented by children.
 
Oregon's Washington County associates an increase in illegally grown plants with that state's medical marijuana program.  More than 2.5 pounds of marijuana and growing equipment were seized last year at the home of an Oregon medical marijuana program participant.  While detectives were searching the house people showed up to the home looking to buy marijuana.  Five arrests were made and a shotgun was seized from the home.
 
"Legislators behind this bill are well-intentioned and trying to help people with medical conditions," said Brannigan.  "But smoking marijuana is a poor and dangerous substitute for Federally-approved prescription medications."
 
"Permitting the use of marijuana for "medical" or other reasons downplays the risks of marijuana and sends the wrong message that it is not harmful," continued Brannigan.  "No matter what name you give it, marijuana is dangerous and should continue to be banned in any form in New Jersey."