Jersey City POBA Pres. Disbrow speaks out against potential changes to off-duty job rules


Jersey City Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Carmine Disbrow spoke out against potential changes being made to off-duty job rules that would allow flagmen to replace cops in many scenarios.

“It’s a concern for several reasons: number 1, we don’t believe this traffic manual is adherent to state law, state regulations, [or] DOT [Department of Transportation] regulations,” Disbrow told HCV at the North Precinct this afternoon.

“We currently has a lawsuit, as you know, against the city in regards to the current off-duty ordinance which, we don’t believe is being enforced the way it’s written … Both the POBA and the city sought summary judgment from the court and that is going to be decided by December 13th.”

Tonight, the city council will decide at their caucus meeting if the first reading of an ordinance to update their Traffic Control Manual, which hasn’t changed since 1995.

The new manual would only require police officers in instances where “traffic control indications are being overridden,” a copy of the ordinance reads.

Flagmen would be able to handle other scenarios, such as where construction equipment is blocking traffic lanes and/or sidewalks, or when there are alternating traffic lanes.

Given that Hudson County Superior Court Judge Anthony D’Elia will make a crucial ruling on the POBA’s lawsuit in the next month, he doesn’t feel any reason the council should consider this sort of local legislation at this time.

” … We believe this is just an attempt from them [the administration] to have insurance just in case we lose the lawsuit, to effectively remove police officers from the off-duty program,” Disbrow added.

According to city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, that isn’t the rationale being used at City Hall.

“This update to the traffic manual is to ensure construction companies operating within the city are in compliance with all local and state guidelines, and will better explain the proper procedures to do just that,” she said in an email.

Regardless, Disbrow reiterated that the measure still has serious problems from his point of view.

“State DOT regulations, as well as Title 39, says that only a police officer or a traffic officer can pull traffic through a signalized intersection … and flagmen are not recognized as traffic officers.”

This is the latest round in the ongoing fight between the POBA and Mayor Steven Fulop’s administration ever since it was announced in February 2018 that off-duty details would be abolished following a federal corruption probe where about a dozen officers either pleaded guilty or were convicted of stealing time.

Disbrow says that while the program obviously had its flaws, the police union has offered solutions that included having off-duty officers working details wearing GPS technology that would be monitored by a third party.

For at least the majority of this year, New Jersey State Police and flagmen have been receiving a majority of the off-duty work in Jersey City.

The Jersey City Council convenes tonight at City Hall, 280 Grove St., inside council caucus chambers at 6 p.m.

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/hcvcp/public_html/wp-content/themes/Hudson County View/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 353