New Hoboken Police Chief Robert Lisa


Last month, Hoboken Police Captain Robert Lisa was named successor to Carmen LaBruno, who had been “forced” to retire amidst the “scandals” that plagued the department last year.

Lisa will become permanent Chief some time in June, provided he passes the State’s “chief test.”

One Hoboken411 reader briefly said this about the new chief: “I never heard of this guy before and he has been in the department over 20 years. Either the guy is honest and never had any spotlight on him or he kept WAAAYYY under the radar. “

He certainly is way under the radar, but he seems to be an OK guy who runs in 5K’s, and even contributed to an article named “How to Build, Fix, and Sustain Productive Partnerships” published by the U.S. Department of Justice.

What do you think about the newest Hoboken Police Chief?


Previous updates after the jump…

3/15/2008 Betting line update:

As a joke, I wrote a week ago that the over/under payout line for under-fire Hoboken Police Chief Carmen LaBruno was $477,000. I thought even that was high, but some other pseudo-Hoboken papers were throwing ridiculous numbers out there, and got called on it.

So place your bets! (or add your own figures)


3/7/2008 Update:

Formal announcement next week:

Hoboken Police Chief to step down


Word on the street is that Hoboken Police Chief Carmen LaBruno will announce his retirement sometime next week. Shoot, 37 years of doing the same thing is enough to make anyone want to walk away, whether it was because of the SWAT scandal or not!

Apparently LaBruno will stay on the force for a “transition period” until June. Next on the list is for the city to determine and come to agreement with LaBruno as to how much unused vacation he will be compensated for. In many cases with similar tenures, it could amount to many years of pay. The opening over/under line is $477,000.

Investigation is still ongoing for the rest of the officers involved in the scandal.

The rest of the recent action after the jump.


3/5/2008 Update:

This story is just losing traction lately, and frankly becoming boring. Here’s the Cliff Notes (and cranky sleep-deprived 411) version of the weak announcement at City Hall today. See if you can translate.

Nine officers face “administrative” charges

City safety mascot Bill Bergin announces that nine cops are facing inter-departmental charges. Those charges potentially range from a slap on the wrist to a kick to the curb (and groin.) Bergin said only one of those officers are facing suspension. Seems like they’re afraid to name names (including what might happen to head honcho Chief Carmen LaBruno), and cite “ongoing juggling investigation,” yet five of the nine officers being charged are already known. Lt. Angelo Andriani will get some period of unpaid suspension, and four of the five Latino cops are getting shafted themselves for “charges” that I think are the result of them being big mouths, not because they did something seriously wrong. You know, they find “loopholes,” and which is why I hate bureaucracy.

The remaining four could probably now be part of fun and wacky local office pools in Hoboken (which would be unfair of course, because there’s always people with “inside” information). But who are they? Will LaBruno be one of them? What about Joel Mestre? Maybe they’ll pick the ones with the worst boobie pics from Hooters?

I wonder if this story will last all the way through the year. Appeals, counter-suits, sugar-coated statements and canned responses get really tiring after a while. Speaking of which I need some sleep. For real.


More news…

Chief Didn’t Pay?

In today’s paper, reporter Charles Hack reported that Hoboken Police Chief Carmen LaBruno did NOT pay for his trip to Louisiana, as he had previously stated. Instead, “Deputy Coordinator Officer of Emergency Mangement” Joel Mestre said he fronted the money for LaBruno’s plane fare, and was reimbursed the by the cops SWAT team bank account. He claimed that Lt. Angelo Andriani “wouldn’t allow” the Chief to pay (why not?) and then wrote a check from the SWAT teams bank account. That account was funded by deductions from SWAT team members paychecks.

Additionally, “Public Safety Director” Bill Bergin said to the paper that he was told by Chief LaBruno the trip was funded by his own expenses, not the SWAT teams.

Corporation Counsel Steve Kleinman’s canned response to this was “We are concerned… if anything took place without proper oversight.” That can also possibly be translated into “Damnit.”

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office wouldn’t say whether they’re investigating this case or not. Which can either mean “If we are, we ain’t telling ya, and if we’re not, we want you to THINK we are.. hehe.”

File under: Sh*t hitting the fan.



LaBruno voted off the island?

Hoboken Carmen Labruno SWATRumor has it that Hoboken Police Chief Carmen Labruno could be one of the victims of the SWAT / Hooters debacle that embarrassed the city.

The Journal’s Charles Hack reported that some cops (who wished to remain anonymous) have been mumbling about what LaBruno’s fate will be when the findings of the investigation are announced on Wednesday. He said it ranged from demotion, suspension or even “forced retirement.”

In addition, the NY Times reported that SWAT team “ring leader” Andriani was suspended last week, and relinquished is badge and (city owned) gun. Also, it was reported that four of the five Hispanic officers who filed suit against the city are also facing charges such as making up stories about forced labor for the Chief and Lieutenant, using racial slurs themselves and failure to report violations of the code of conduct within an acceptable time.

Predictably, you can expect all officers receiving disciplinary action to request appeals (within five days) to further drag this story on.

more after the jump

2/28/2008 8pm Update:

From Fox 5 via the Associated Press:

Disciplinary Charges Filed in Hoboken SWAT Probe

Disciplinary charges have been issued against an unspecified number of police officers associated with Hoboken’s now-disbanded SWAT unit, the city’s public safety director announced Thursday.


The city’s SWAT team was disbanded in November after officials learned of racy pictures taken during a trip team members made to the New Orleans area in 2006 to help Hurricane Katrina victims. The photos show the unit’s commander and other officers posing with waitresses from a Hooters restaurant in Alabama who appeared to be holding police firearms.

William Bergin, the public safety director, said the charges were filed following an investigation by special counsel David Corrigan. Bergin said he received Corrigan’s report on Thursday.

Bergin would not disclose the names of those facing discipline or what charges they were facing, saying it was a personnel matter. The city “will afford all charged with the due process to which they are entitled under law,” Bergin said.

Bergin, a former deputy chief with the Hoboken Fire Department, was named the city’s civilian public safety director in November, shortly after the photos surfaced.

“As director of public safety, I am committed to ensuring the public’s confidence in the Hoboken Police Department, and hope that today’s action demonstrates the seriousness in which I take that responsibility,” Bergin said in written statement.

Chief Carmen LaBruno and Lt. Angelo Andriani, who headed a now-disbanded SWAT unit, also have been accused of forcing subordinates to perform work at their homes on police time.

Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio last month said he would not seek to indict them, but said the department needed to address administrative issues.

Andriani was sued in October by five Hispanic officers, who claim he is a racist who coerced four of them to work on his house when they should have been on duty. Andriani has denied the allegations.

2/28/2008 7pm Update:

Some more info… Apparently, the charges that were brought up were:

  • Using the “N Word” amongst themselves
  • Not reporting the racist incidents sooner
  • Not reporting the misuse of guns during the Hooters trip sooner.

Additionally, it’s unclear whether it was just the Hispanic officers, the officers that attended the Kenner, LA trip, or all of the above.

Watch the 10 o’clock news for more.

2/28/2008 6:40pm:

Fox 5 News has learned that the five Hispanic cops that are suing the city may have been the lucky recipients of disciplinary action today. Apparently, it has something to do with the pictures, and the fact that the information wasn’t brought forward sooner.

Check the 10 o’clock news to see if more on this story develops.


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69 Comments on "New Hoboken Police Chief Robert Lisa"

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I’m sure Lisa will get the same if not more generous package that LaBruno got, making him one of the highest paid chiefs in the nation, and definitely the highest per capita. Salaries NEVER go down in our fair city.


check the process – I think he is just a temporary “acting” chief and this is not a permanent appointment.


i’d say the fact that a google of his name turned up very little speaks a lot about him. at least it means he hasn’t been in many newspaper articles. we shall see. hopefully he runs a good shop.


Is Robert Lisa any relation to Gerry Lisa, that got convicted a couple of years ago for bribing city and county officials in the Russo era to get no-bid accounting contracts? (

Or any relation to Zoning Board Chair Domenic Lisa?


Here’s what happens in the rest of the country when cops do things like this.