Jersey City puts end to police officers working off-duty jobs
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has pledged to put an end to city police officers working off-duty jobs in the wake of a corruption scandal within the department for doing just that.
Fulop made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday. He says that the median income for a Jersey City police officer is about $100,000. He says that some officers were able to make double or triple that amount by working off-duty jobs.
Fulop says that his issue is that corrupt police officers have been defrauding the city by filling out and submitting time sheets for off-duty work that they never actually did.
“We don’t think that the stain that this program has put on the reputation of the city is something that should continue,” Fulop says. “We’re going to eliminate it.”
Fulop’s announcement was met with criticism by the Jersey City police union.
“We’ve had conversations. This is not a surprise to anybody,” Fulop says.
Off-duty officers have for decades been able to earn extra income by working in utility, doing construction and road repair projects or by providing traffic control and protection. Fulop says that the program has been mishandled for years.
The latest corruption scandal saw 10 people, including former Jersey City Police Chief Philip Zacche, pleading guilty to corruption charges. Officials say that Zacche stole $30,000 for security work that he didn’t do before becoming police chief.
“When you have $16 million or $17 million per year running through this program, it’s hard to keep it accountable,” Fulop says. “It’s clearly hard to keep people honest.”
Fulop says that that officers were hired to be on-duty police officers to patrol the city and that is where officials want them to be focused.
Fulop says that his goal is to phase out the program within six months.
The Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association was not available for comment.