Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop doubled down on eliminating off-duty police security details, exclaiming that “ending it was the proper thing to do” after corruption was uncovered by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Let’s just talk in facts for a second: the reality is we’ve hired more police officers than any administration in recent history – there’s no question about that. We’ve promoted more officers than any administration in recent history,” Fulop said in an interview at his 42nd birthday party last week.
“We did a contract extension longer than any administration in recent history. I think if you look at it on the facts, we’ve been very, very good to our police department and we’ve been very fair to our police officers because we appreciate them and I think being fair is part of my job – and that’s the balance.”
Last month, the Jersey City Council approved a new contract for the Police Officers Benevolent Association (POBA) through 2025, which includes raising starting salaries by $4,000 and restoring two pay steps that officers lost during the arbitration period in 2017.
Despite that fact, many officers remain angered over the fact that the city has eliminated off-duty security details in light of a federal investigation where 11 officers, including former Chief Philip Zacche, either pleaded guilty or were convicted of being paid for no-show jobs.
While the 949-member (soon to be 952 after tomorrow) police department’s two union leaders have argued that eliminating the off-duty details won’t save the city any money, the mayor still says getting rid of the program was good policy.
“That off-duty job was abused, it was rampant with corruption, it went all the way up to the chief’s office, unfortunately, and gutting it was important. The reality is, had we not done what we did with that off-duty job, dozens of other officers could’ve been implicated – who knows where that could’ve gone,” Fulop told HCV.
“So the city wasn’t gonna deal with that anymore, ending it was the proper thing to do, and I’m happy about it.”
A spokesman for the Jersey City POBA did not return an email seeking comment this afternoon.