On the Police Demotion Issue
I spent some time looking up news stories about demotions. Historically, they are given for infractions and the word itself has a negative connotation. I came across one story where a deputy police chief, the son of a chief, committed suicide when given a demotion for budgetary reasons. Another story described a posthumous promotion which doubled the salary and increased family benefits for a rookie cop who died after being mistakenly shot by a fellow officer.
The importance of rank attained in law enforcement is indisputable. Some officers choose to serve faithfully until retirement without seeking higher rank, but those who take the tests and achieve successive titles deserve all possible respect. The Plainfield Area Ebony Police Association made support of those seeking higher rank one of its goals over the years and members proudly celebrated as promotions took place.
A commenter points out that the proposed demotions will leave no African-Americans at the captain level. Captains were already shut out of the possibility of become police chief, when the title was abolished in 2008.
Budget amendments are expected to be revealed next week. If demotions are part of cutting expenses, how and when will those demoted get their titles back? It may be legal to demote public safety staff to save money, but what is being lost in the process?
No City Council agendas were available Saturday online or at the library, which was closed due to the snowstorm. The regular meeting is 8 p.m. Monday in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave. The exact timetable for introduction of amendments and a hearing on the amendments is not known at this time.