Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said he “would not be surprised if the off-duty jobs go away entirely in 2018” as the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office continues to probe the local police department.
“We have several tolerance for corruption and more misconduct in the police department. We actively work, and will continue to work, with the FBI, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office – anything we can to root out … end corruption,” Public Safety Director James Shea said during a small press conference with local media last week.
“We don’t care what rank you are, how long you’ve been on the Jersey City Police Department, whether you’re a quote unquote ‘nice guy:’ if you’re doing it, we will hold you accountable for it. And if that causes anybody to say that affects their morale, maybe they should look for another job.”
Shea’s remarks came after being asked about the ongoing federal investigation into off-duty security details that has led to nine police officers pleading guilty to bribery and/or fraud charges related to getting paid for no-show jobs.
In September 2016, Juan Romaniello, the former “pick coordinator” for the North District, admitted to accepting $230,000 in corrupt payments, while ex-officers Ehab Abdelaziz and Andrea Fahrenholz pleaded guilty to their involvement in the scheme back in October.
The investigation remains active and the U.S. Attorney’s Office has previously noted that the JCPD is cooperating.
During the same press conference in his office discussing a multitude of policing matters, Fulop revealed that the off-duty security details could soon become a thing of the past in Jersey City.
“On the off-duty stuff, we’re very proactive. The one thing I’ll tell you, just based on conversations we’ve had with the FBI … I would not be surprised if the off-duty jobs go away entirely in 2018,” Fulop said.
When Hudson County View asked if, in that scenario, contractors would be paying private security firms to oversee their works sites, the mayor reiterated his previous point.
“All I’m saying is that I wouldn’t be surprised based on where the conversations are going. I tend to think that’s directionally where this lands … and wherever this city lands in regards to the conversation with all different authorities, whatever the best practices are around the country, and how other cities do this, that’s what’s gonna be happening in Jersey City.”
Fulop later alluded to looking into practices “across the river” when examining the best security detail practices throughout the country.
The NYPD has a number of arrangements in place with retail chains, department stores, supermarkets, as well as large-scale entertainment venues such as the Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium.
The off-duty employment program, coordinate by the NYPD’s Paid Detail Unit, allows officers to work in uniform with private sector companies while they are off-duty.