JERSEY CITY - Jersey City officials and News 12 New Jersey viewers are responding to a recent Kane In Your Corner investigation into possible waste at the Jersey City Police Department. Sources within the department say some of the take-home vehicles identified in last week's report have now been taken away from officers who were using them. The department is now auditing all overtime and vehicle use.
The investigation found four members of the JCPD motorcycle unit were getting generous benefits the city said should only go to top brass or undercover units, including take-home vehicles they could use to travel to and from work at the taxpayer's expense. Cpt. Joseph Ascolese, Lt. Kelly Chesler, Officer Michael Maietti and Officer Anthony Ruocco were commuting up to 80 miles a day for free, Kane In Your Corner found.
In addition, records allegedly show some of those officers also received copious amounts of overtime, not always supported by time sheets. Ascolese allegedly received nearly $24,000 in overtime in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, even though his time sheets showed he only worked four hours of overtime. Kane In Your Corner reviewed thousands of pages of documents received under New Jersey's Open Public Records Act.
The investigation has drawn strong viewer response on social media. Hundreds of viewers praised the investigation, including Brian, who wrote: "Police provide an invaluable service to the community. These types of shenanigans create distrust among the public, and are really damaging to all the honest officers."
A few dozen viewers thought the report was unfair, including Gwendolyn, who wrote: "Good job News 12, turning people against police just because a handful are in the wrong."