Valuable cops should be the last thing cut

7/24/2010:

Hoboken411 has received dozens of emails from residents across the spectrum in the mile square regarding the recent announcement by City Hall to eliminate 18 members from the already short-staffed Hoboken Police Department.

From anger that the administration only looked at one skewed audit from the state, to concerns about the safety of residents. Other residents were puzzled that countless friends and contributors to Zimmer’s campaign get appointments, raises and more. While some folks estimated the “cost savings” for stripping the police department would save property taxpayers a whopping $7 per month on average.

However, the following letter to Mayor Dawn Zimmer stood out – because it’s apparent that the Mayor is treating the men and women that lay their lives on the line as some kind of expendable part of life as we know it in Hoboken.

Think of other ways to cut taxes besides Police

“Dear Mayor Zimmer,

You don’t know me but I am a resident of Hoboken. I wasn’t born here, I wasn’t raised here, but I do have family here. My friends are my family, my husband’s co-workers are a band of brothers, and the streets, buildings, art and culture that make up this town are my life. They are my husband’s life as well.

He struggled and worked many different jobs and we moved many times trying to make our way to live here in Hoboken. Nearly 10 years ago we made that dream come true. Upon moving here, we immediately felt as though we had been in Hoboken our whole lives, it was a perfect fit. I felt I could walk anywhere in town and I know someone just around the corner. We support all the local businesses in town, have become friends over the years with the owners, again it feels like we are family.

My husband and I have been together for over 20 years and married over 13 of those. He’s my best friend and I his. Since I can remember he has always wanted to be a police officer. He’s always wanted to help people, to “protect and serve” as they say. I didn’t want to have him in danger risking his life for strangers, it scared me. However the people of Hoboken are not strangers, they are family.

I recall about a year before my better half decided to try to become a cop the moment when I realized it was his calling and I needed to step aside. We were going grocery shopping at our local A&P and pulling into a parking spot. We both noticed across the street and down a bit a young woman riding a bicycle and a car that had just parallel parked. I remember feeling that shock and just froze as I watched the car door open and the cyclist ride into the door. I covered my eyes and took a breath and looked over to my husband. Before I could utter a gasp, he was half way to her running full speed to the scene. He was the first one there attending to her and assessing the damage, phoning for help, and keeping things under control. And there I sat, stunned that all I had thought to do, time to do, was cover my eyes. His reaction told me that he was meant to help others. To have this fine man sit at a desk or at a cubical would be a crime in itself.

He almost didn’t make the cut off. He was getting too old to take the test and the town kept putting off hiring. I remember the months we waited on pins and needles to see if he made it. He worked so hard to get his one shot to do this and it would have killed me to see it not happen.

I remember sitting outside Ted and Joe’s having breakfast one morning when a pigeon pooped on his head. Being Italian, I consider that to be a sign of good luck and I exclaimed “That’s it, you are going to be hired I can feel it!” I know it sounds silly, and maybe the bird had nothing to do with it, but he did get hired.

At the end of his first day at the academy, he came home with muscles so stressed and sore he could barely get the key in the door. He fell into bed wearing all of his clothes and the look of total shock and exhaustion. He woke at 4 am the next day to do it all again. Boot camp for cops, that’s what it was, and he loved every single minute of it. He loved everyone there, and he especially loved and still loves his Hoboken graduating classmates. They are bonded for life, brothers and sisters, always there to watch out for one another no matter what. Being that he is an only child, you can imagine how special that is for him.

When he graduated it was the proudest moment in our lives. My father, who was sick with cancer, and has since passed away, came to the ceremony. I remember it was a particularly tough night for him as he was feeling especially bad, but he wouldn’t miss it for the world. He knew what my husband put into it, he knew it was all he ever wanted, and he had to be there for him because he was so proud. We all were, and still are, as we are for all of Hoboken’s Finest.

I think people have the wrong impression of cops, and especially Hoboken cops. I think people get mad at them for giving them tickets for driving through a stop sign, or for fighting in public because they are drunk, having open containers of alcohol, and urinating in our beloved streets, but they should be mad at themselves. If a police officer is writing you a ticket or arresting you, chances are you did something to deserve it and you should be upset with yourself. My husband has written such tickets and arrested for such crimes, but he’s also done much more.

My better half, and I do mean better, with the help of his partner, evacuated an entire building that was on fire. They had no masks on and were not wearing protective gear. They were patrolling and saw the smoke and acted on it. Simple as that, they ran into the building and saved people.

He’s held a woman’s head in his hands to keep it immobile after she was hit by a car riding her bike without a helmet. She couldn’t see around the intersection because someone illegally parked their car and blocked the view. She died in his arms. She had a fiancé, a family, a life.

So the when you think about cutting taxes, and you propose to cut back 18 jobs of these fine men, think a little more. There’s no other way to cut taxes, to get the money? There are nights on the weekend when there are only 6 men on duty in all of Hoboken. When there’s a fight at Lana, and someone is burglarizing a home, and an accident near the viaduct do you want to only have 4 or 6 men covering all of this. Does this make you feel safe?

Protect my family, protect my friends, keep Hoboken safe and proud and keep the jobs of these men who do risk their lives, do risk their sanity, do work hard to keep us all safe every day and every night and do not make half the salary others towns make.

This is the story of one fine man, but it’s only one story. Think about the others, the road they took to get the honor to serve us. Think about their families, and the sacrifices made to share our loved one with the public.

Hoboken Police are proud to serve Hoboken and deserve to keep their jobs. All of them.”

411 Note: I’m not in full disagreement that there may be “bloat” in the Hoboken Police organization. Much of which was “built up” over the past few decades and administrations. However, I think it’s an ill-advised move to try and create “sweeping changes” that could be of detriment to residents down the line. A better alternative is to “stop the bleeding,” by instituting new procedures for all new hires going forward. Just like fitness and weight loss – “crash diets” are not recommended, and almost always backfire. Slow and steady, and hope that the previous mistakes are corrected. Don’t expect miracles overnight. Just my $0.02.

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17 Comments on "Valuable cops should be the last thing cut"

wiskeytango1
Member
wiskeytango1

Ambulance is volunteer? ems is paid our of med center. Theres lots of dead wood on top
of the ladder that isn’t necessery.. Promises were made last year to trim the fat. This promise had to be kept to the 50+1 reformers that voted for Zelda. She won by default and shame on Peter..that being said.We knew as soon as Judy left this chit would happen. How many attorneys and consultents advisers do the tax payers need compared
to Public Saftey who put their lives on the line for us?Most they can suffer is a paper cut.
We had Zipadedo cars take up 100′ a block.Morons issuing title 39’s playing with inches.
That revenue does not all go to the city.BTW did anyone see the shape of ians raiders?
The feast is being moved up the piers to satisify the revolters after 100 years.One goes to mass then has to trek up the piers for food and see entertainment in the july heat.
the revolters were told by real estate a feast would be there for five days ,deaf ears. There is two sides to any story,but of course there is a third side.the truth. Hoboken is not the one horse town with 50 cops and a corn husking festival once a year. A one term Mayor living in a urban city with Mayberry ideals..Ps wonder who the 16 public employers laid off are.Betcha high priced laberors..Advise to the Administration.If its not broke don’t fix.

dc134
Member
dc134
Um…Hoboken Ambulance IS volunteer, you know…Hoboken VOLUNTEER Ambulance Corps…just thought I’d throw that out there.[quote comment=”195132″]Ambulance is volunteer? ems is paid our of med center. Theres lots of dead wood on top of the ladder that isn’t necessery.. Promises were made last year to trim the fat. This promise had to be kept to the 50+1 reformers that voted for Zelda. She won by default and shame on Peter..that being said.We knew as soon as Judy left this chit would happen. How many attorneys and consultents advisers do the tax payers need compared to Public Saftey who put their lives on the line for us?Most they can suffer is a paper cut. We had Zipadedo cars take up 100′ a block.Morons issuing title 39’s playing with inches. That revenue does not all go to the city.BTW did anyone see the shape of ians raiders? The feast is being moved up the piers to satisify the revolters after 100 years.One goes to mass then has to trek up the piers for food and see entertainment in the july heat. the revolters were told by real estate a feast would be there for five days ,deaf ears. There is two sides to any story,but of course there is a third side.the truth. Hoboken is not the one horse town with 50 cops and a corn husking festival once a year. A one term Mayor living in a urban city with Mayberry ideals..Ps wonder who the 16 public employers laid off are.Betcha high… Read more »
proh57
Member
proh57

First of all, the mounted unit was cut a few years ago due to budget issues.

Second, no one wants to see ANYONE lose their job — whether it’s in the private or public sector. Unfortunately, this town has been managed into the ground and there were promotions/hirings that were put into effect without the money to back them.

I do agree that the city should have considered a reduction in salary/benefits before an outright cut of staffing. Those in the private sector know that we’ve all taken a few cuts in the last few years to keep our jobs.

It’s a shame that we need to cut back on the people that keep us safe. Look on the bright side — the town ambulance is volunteer so at least there will be plenty of medical help if we need it!

Best analogy I heard about our budget crisis: If you have a bucket that is leaking as you try to it with water, you don’t turn on more water. You stop the water and fix the leak. Looks like New Jersey and its municipalities are finally learning that lesson.

wiskeytango1
Member
wiskeytango1

gloves .where do you see a mounted police force in Hoboken? Is ed too tall jones too tall and is there 175 – + on the PD. Are there 40,000- people in Hoboken as of the last census..not counting the illegals? if you say so. 🙄

scrubglove1
Member
scrubglove1

Although I typically agree with H411 and feel strongly that local government needs a watchdog such as H411, I totally disagree with this post.

Let me ask:

Why is our Police chief one of the highest paid in the nation?
Why do we have ~175 full time police staff for a town of ~40,000 people?
Why does Hoboken need a mounted police force?
Why do we blindly accept that the unions know what they are doing and their goals are in line with our best interests?

If you havent noticed, layoffs are occuring in every sector of the economy and there is no reason why police should be exempt.

We need to cut costs across the board. period.

blahblahblah
Member
blahblahblah
I dont even know where to begin. Every argument has two sides, however all you so called “reformers” always try and make it one sided so let me spin this for you. First off stop with the public v private. The private sector has added twice as many jobs then public. Check your sources and this info will turn out to be a FACT for you and dont ask your buddy reformer if it is true. Second, from 2003-2007, NJ and jobs actually outperformed the nation during this period known as the great recession. It had a much lower rate of jobs decline. Again, check your sources and this will also turn out to be fact. Again, dont ask your fellow reformer as they know not where to conduct research. Third, Hoboken has roughly 55,000 to 60,000 people. In regards to the union comment, I beleive it was stated the pd union gave back alot when the CITY’S attorneys (who are paid alot) and tripodi ratified it and strongly advised the city to accept the offer and run. Of course they did not and now risk loosing millions in savings. Fourth, The Rand Institute released a study regarding police presence v lower crime rates and low police presence v high crime rates. I wont get into it, but go RESEARCH IT…….crime has more of an impact on the tax payer then atually having a police presence. Again, each argument has two sides. There should be some trimming, but by not… Read more »
animal_lover
Member
animal_lover

I vote to cut the extra directors and reduce the salary of the inexperienced business manager to match his last salary or salary plus 4%.

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