Bayonne considers establishing procedure for extra-duty police services

The city is moving to define the process for extra-duty police services amid a crime wave

Bayonne is weighing a measure that would establish a procedure for extra-duty police services.

The City Council has introduced an ordinance to authorize amendments to existing city ordinances regarding the police department and extra-duty services at its July meeting.

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According to the ordinance, the provision of police for special services is “an advantage to the residents of the City of Bayonne as the costs would otherwise fall upon the residents of the city at large.”

The Attorney of the State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Division of Local Government Services previously determined that the members of a municipal police department, during their off-duty hours, can engage in police-related activities for private persons or entities known as “extra duty.”

Per state laws, municipalities can agree to implement a system where the extra-duty assignments of police officers are arranged through a contract between a municipality and a private person or entity. The contract must include a provision where the compensation for extra-duty police related services is placed in a fund established by the municipality, with proceeds of said fund being disbursed by the municipality to the individual police officers performing such services.

Per the ordinance, “it is in the best interest of the City of Bayonne to establish a procedure for the assignment of extra-duty police services which will allow for the greater protection of the citizens of the City of Bayonne.” As such, the city is moving to delineate the process for extra-duty police services, amid a crime wave officials are trying to wrangle in.

Provisions of the ordinance

Extra-duty refers to any employment when a Police Officer is not scheduled for a shift of duty by the Bayonne Police Department (BPD) and is conditioned on the actual or potential use of law enforcement powers by the police officer employee. Extra-duty employment is also referred to as traffic details or off-duty work that are paid through the city.

The party requesting the service of the member of the BPD provided would be charged and pay for such services. This would be in accordance with the terms and conditions specified in the current collective negotiation agreements for each position, with each agreement being on file with the City Clerk’s Office.

According to the ordinance, any police officer assigned to perform extra-duty services would do so as an employee of the city. That means the officers would be subject to the established rules and regulations of the BPD, including but not limited to the BPD Standard Operating Procedures.

Wages earned for outside extra-duty employment by any Bayonne police officer would not be applied toward pension benefits of the police officer, nor would hours worked for outside employment be considered as overtime payable by the city. If a third party has been contracted by the governing body for administration and fee collection associated with extra-duty law enforcement services, a fee may be charged in addition to those set forth by the contract.

Insurance, indemnification, and emergencies

Each private person or entity employing an extra-duty police officer would be responsible to maintain their own insurance coverage. They would be also required to name the city as an additional insured and upon request would be required to provide proof of said insurance coverage by the police department.

Additionally, each private person or entity requesting the services of extra-duty police officers shall indemnify the city for any and all damages which may arise from the extra-duty police officer’s employment by said private person or entity.

The police department would have the authority to order any police officer engaged in extra-duty assignments within the city to respond to an emergency situation. Police Chief Robert Geisler, or his or her designee, would also have the right to order any extra-duty assignment to be terminated whenever said assignment creates an unacceptable risk to the health, safety and welfare of the extra-duty police officer and or citizens.

In the event a police officer is assigned to an emergency situation, said private person or entity would make note of said emergency as well as the time the officer was removed from the extra-duty assignment. In that situation, the private person or entity would not be responsible for the payment of the police officer’s hourly rate, administrative fee, or any other fees to the city until that officer and or equipment returns to the extra-duty assignment.

Public hearing upcoming

The ordinance is up for a public hearing and vote at the council’s next meeting. The Bayonne City Council will meet next on August 17 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall at 630 Avenue C. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org.

Other municipalities in Hudson County have also adopted similar ordinances. This includes SecaucusNorth Bergen, and West New York, among others.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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