The Union City and Weehawken Police Departments each fired one police officer in 2022, with the UCPD suspending four cops, while the WPD suspended one, according to their respective annual major discipline reports.
Union City Police Officer Kevin Roldan was suspended without pay after getting charged with drunk driving and assault by auto in Hoboken on October 18th, the report says, with police body camera footage showing him admitting to drinking three beers.
Since the incident occurred during his “working test period,” with the case still pending as of late December, he was terminated on December 22nd. Technically, he served a 58-day suspension prior to being let go.
Det. Harold Polo was suspended for 20 days after getting charged with driving under the influence. He pleaded guilty to reckless driving and was issued a 90-day driver’s license suspension, the UCPD Internal Affairs Unit wrote in the report.
Additionally, Officer Gerardo Colon and Det. Anthony Valdivia, the nephew of Commissioner Celine Valdivia, were each suspended 10 days for two very different reasons.
Colon was suspended for being involved in a motor vehicle accident while on duty and charged with failing to properly care for assigned equipment.
The situation with Valdivia was more complex: he engaged in text messaging a female suspect in an investigation, picked her up in a police vehicle, and drove outside of Union City.
“Officer Valdivia failed to activate his body worn camera with the female and failed to document such actions,” the incident description says.
In neighboring Weehawken, Officer Esteban Rodriguez was terminated on January 13th, 2022 for two separate domestic violence incidents, one of which involving making a false police report, as well as getting caught going to the gym while out on sick leave.
“Ptl. [Patrolman] Esteban Rodriguez was terminated for Domestic Violence after he was subject to a temporary restraining order for harassment under Domestic Violence. He violated the restraining order by calling a neighboring police department and making a false police report pertaining to the domestic violence victim which prompted a police response,” the incident description says.
“Subsequent investigation revealed that the entire report to the neighboring police agency was false. While out on sick leave Ptl. Rodriguez went to the gym in violation of department policy. While on administrative duties pertaining to this incident, he was involved in another Domestic Violence incident with a separate victim in which it was determined he assaulted the victim. As a result, he was terminated from employment.”
Furthermore, Officer Joshua Hernandez was suspended for nine days on March 17th, 2022 for using an excessive amount of sick time in a two-year period.
“As a result, Ptl. Joshua Hernandez lost a total of 9 vacation days for Abuse of Sick Time in
addition to the following abeyances – In Abeyance for 2 years till 09/18/2024 30 days suspension for sick abuse, In Abeyance for 1 year till 09/18/2023 30 days suspension all other discipline.”
As HCV previously reported, the Jersey City Police Department suspended six officers and fired three – while one forfeited his job after pleading guilty to a crime – last year, while the Hoboken Police Department had two cops resign, one retire, and seven face major discipline.
Additionally, only one officer each made the major discipline reports, respectively, for the Secaucus Police Department and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, though one Secaucus dispatcher was also fired for an off-duty drunk driving crash where a passenger was badly hurt.
The Harrison, Guttenberg, Kearny and West New York Police Departments, along with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, did not report any major discipline pertaining to suspensions, terminations, or resignations in 2022.
New Jersey law enforcement agencies are technically required to post on their website by January 31st of each year, but many still just submit to the AG’s office through an online portal.
The state’s annual database has also not been updated with each department’s major discipline report yet.
As of now, the reports from the East Newark, Bayonne, and North Bergen Police Departments are still not yet available.
Editor’s note: After this story was published, the Weehawken Police Department acknowledged that they initially uploaded the wrong report. This story has since been updated with information from the correct document.