New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog

New Jersey
Public Safety Officers Law Blog

Dedicated to Corrections Officers, Policemen, & Firemen throughout the Garden State

Tag Archives: NJ Police Officer discipline

The Effect of Resignation on your Application for Disability Retirement

Posted in Disability Retirement, Public Employee Discipline
A recent opinion rendered by the Appellate Division has important implications for all law enforcement officers, and all public employees for that matter, who are considering applying for disability retirement while simultaneously fighting disciplinary charges.  The case, Cardinale v. Board of Trustees, Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, A-1997-17T1, involved a police officer who was subject to… Continue Reading

The US Supreme Court agrees that Paterson Police Officer’s Demotion Violated his First Amendment Right to Free Speech

Posted in Public Employee Discipline, Public Employment Labor Law
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with former Paterson police officer Jeffrey J. Heffernan and ruled that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was demoted after picking up a campaign sign for the mayor’s opponent.  Heffernan had been demoted after supporters of Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres saw him picking up a campaign sign for challenger Lawrence Spagnola,… Continue Reading

Investigation Concludes that Brick Police Officers were Justified in Using Deadly Force in 2015 Shooting

Posted in Uncategorized
As reported by the Brick Patch online, the shooting of a 21-year-old Brick Township man in August 2015 during a confrontation with police has been ruled a justifiable use of deadly force, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato announced Thursday. In a statement released Thursday morning, Coronato said the investigation into the Aug. 23 shooting that… Continue Reading

Open Letter from NJ State PBA President Patrick Colligan on the Recent Unrest Against Police

Posted in Uncategorized
Given the unrest that has erupted throughout our country in response to two Grand Jury decisions that failed to return True Bill’s of Indictment, we came across this letter from PBA President Patrick Colligan that offers an opinion from the perspective of a law enforcement officer.  Given our audience is New Jersey Public Safety Officers, we… Continue Reading

Trial Court Authority to Impose Discipline Different From Municipality Upheld

Posted in Public Employee Discipline
On March 31, 2008, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, decided the case Detective Sergeant Dean Ackermann v. Borough of Glen Rock and Glen Rock Police Department, Docket Number A-2947-07T2. In the case, the parties appealed and cross-appealed from an order entered by the trial court. Plaintiff has been a member of the Glen… Continue Reading

Legislative Proposal Seeks to Provide Law Enforcement Officers Pay Status When Appeals of Termination Are Not Resolved Within 180 Days

Posted in Civil Service Appeals
  This blog entry will focus upon our review of certain statutory proposals currently pending in the New Jersey Legislature concerning the pay status of law enforcement officers when appeals of termination are not resolved within 180 days. These proposals are set forth in Assembly Bill Number 3481.  Assembly Bill 3481 concerns the suspensions of… Continue Reading

Officer’s Resignation Not Attributed to Duress, Upheld

Posted in Civil Service Appeals
  In In the Matter of Thomas F. Fricano, Borough of Freehold, Docket No.: A-2280-07T3, the Appellate Division addressed Appellant Thomas Fricano’s appeal from final decisions of the Merit System Board (“Board”), dated September 27, 2007 and December 7, 2007, upholding his resignation in good standing from the Borough of Freehold Police Department. By way… Continue Reading

Discipline Regading Dissemination of Internal Affairs Documents Upheld

Posted in Internal Affairs
  In Division of State Police v. In the Matter of Detective Sergeant First Class Daniel Flaherty, Docket No. A-0257-07T20257-07T2, the Appellate Division addressed the validity and ultimate imposition of disciplinary charges lodged against a Detective Sergeant of the New Jersey State Police. The appeal arose out of disciplinary charges filed by the New Jersey… Continue Reading


Posted in Internal Affairs, Public Employee Discipline
  In the matter of O’Rourke v. City of Lambertville, Docket No. A-0481-07T3, the Defendants appeal the trial court’s decision: (1) reversing the Lambertville City Council’s decision removing Plaintiff, Michael O’Rourke, from his position as a police officer; (2) reinstating Plaintiff to his position; and (3) denying their motion for reconsideration. Defendant, Bruce Cocuzza, is… Continue Reading

Policy of Progressive Discipline Circumvented/Dismissal of Officer Upheld

Posted in Public Employee Discipline
  In the case of In the Matter of Carpenito, Sergeant Vincent Capenito appealed a final agency decision dismissing him from the Division of State Police. The Appellate Division sustained Carpenito’s dismissal and rejected his contention that the policy of progressive discipline required a less severe sanction. On March 24, 2006, Carpenito was charged with… Continue Reading

Public Safety Officers Appointed to Promotional Positions to Fill a Vacancy During a Military Leave of Absence have no Claim to Permant Employment Title

Posted in Civil Service Appeals
In the case entitled, In the Matter of Herrick, etc. 33-2-1258, The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division opined that a police officer serving in the elevated civil service title of captain in order to fill a vacancy created by a temporary leave of absence due to a military obligation has no claim to permanent appointment… Continue Reading

Internal Affairs Records and Reports May Be Released Subject to Redaction

Posted in Internal Affairs
In the case of Spinks et al. v. The Township of Clinton et al., 52-2-1684, The Township of Clinton sought to bar the release of an internal affairs investigation of the police department that was submitted to the trial court as part and parcel to a summary judgment proceeding.  The Township argued that the disclosure of these types of… Continue Reading

Minor Disciplinary Charges Challenged in the Superior Court of New Jersey

Posted in Contract Interpretation, Public Employee Discipline
The Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic Vicinage, (DeLuccia, J.S.C.) recently interpreted a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) pertaining to discipline in the case of Whitaker v. Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, 33-3-139.  In this case the Plaintiff appealed her right to challenge minor disciplinary charges which were previously dismissed for alleged failure to exhaust administrative remedies under the CBA.  Instead… Continue Reading

When it Comes to Public Employee Discipline–Watch Out for the Repercussions of Settlement Agreements

Posted in Public Employee Discipline
In the case entitled, In The Matter of Poplawski, 33-2-0649, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division rendered a decision that upheld the New Jersey Department of Personnel, Merit System Board’s decision that the removal of the Appellant’s name from a promotional list was proper due to his past disciplinary history.  Poplawski appealed his employer’s action of… Continue Reading

Service as a Public Safety Officer and The First Amendment–Blurring the Line

Posted in Public Employee Discipline
In the case of Leek v. New Jersey Department of Corrections, 33-2-0497, a Senior Corrections Officer appealed the New Jersey Department of Personnel, Merit System Board’s decision to uphold the Department’s issuance of a thirty (30) day suspension for violation of the Department’s internal rules and regulations and conduct unbecoming a public employee.  The case revolved… Continue Reading

Fundementals of the New Jersey Department of Personnel Disciplinary Process

Posted in Public Employee Discipline
          Achieving the desired level of discipline within a law enforcement unit is among the most important responsibilities of the law enforcement executive, and the governing body. Yet this is one of the most frequently neglected processes within many law enforcement agencies. This will be first of a series of Blog posts that concentrate on the… Continue Reading

Be Sure to Perfect your Appeal of Major Discipline within the Alloted Twenty (20) Day Time Period

Posted in Public Employee Discipline
In an unpublished opinion, the Appellate Division, Superior Court of New Jersey upheld the decision of the Merit System Board, New Jersey Department of Personnel, that the appellant’s failure to file his appeal of the Final Notice of Disciplinary Action within twenty (20) days from the issuance of the Final Notice of Disciplinary Action barred him… Continue Reading

Weingarten: Protecting Your Rights During The Investigatory Interview

Posted in Public Employee Discipline
This is the second entry drafted by Michael P. DeRose concerning the utilization and implementation of Weingarten rights by New Jersey Public Safety Officers. Subsequent to the invocation of Weingarten Rights by a New Jersey Public Safety Officer, the supervising authority conducting the interview must: cease questioning until the union representative arrives; cancel or postpone… Continue Reading

Weingarten 101: Recognizing an Investigatory Interview and When to Exercise Your Rights

Posted in Public Employee Discipline
This particular post was drafted by Michael P. DeRose. As stated in a previous post, Michael is a paralegal employed with the Law Offices of Arpaia & Crivelli, L.L.C. Michael will be leaving the office in August, 2008, for purposes of attending Law School in Michigan. While we are very sad to see him leave, we are excited… Continue Reading