According to Bloomfield Life Online:
Michael McCracken and Hector Cartagena, who are airmen in the Air Force Reserve, may be fired from the Bloomfield force on administrative charges for allegedly misusing military leave time, said their attorney Catherine Elston at a press conference Friday in Newark. Elston said both are upstanding officers who followed all procedures when they reported for military duty. State Sen. Ron Rice, also speaking at the press conference at the Fraternal Order of Police's union hall, called for the New Jersey Attorney General's Office to investigate the Bloomfield Police Department's actions against the officers.As with other unforced uproars in our town that appear to represent an unnecessary exercise of power over the powerless, this one has most residents wondering "What were they thinking?"
In the first day after the press conference, the story was picked up by The Patch, FIOS1 News, WABC7, Fox News, numerous blogs, and the NJ Fraternal Order of Police who posted:
"In a show of solidarity, we had standing room only participants consisting of the officers’ family, our police brothers and sisters, community leaders, and the press. Kudos to State Sen. Ron Rice for standing with us today. We commend our Bloomfield Lodge President Anthony Argento and attorney Catherine Elston for the awesome work they’re doing on this case."
Out of state police groups are also expressing support. The Colorsdo FOP commented
"It is not unusual for to see discrimination, intimidation, and abuse of law enforcement officers who serve in the US Armed Forces. It happens far more than it is reported. The sad fact is it does not sit well with employers who are required to make accommodations for our nation’s warriors, and they will take illegal action to remove them from employment. "Among the factors that may delay a resolution of this issue is the fact that Bloomfield's newly elected Mayor and Council won't meet until early January to address it. It presumably came up in a closed session of the departing Council and it's still not clear what facts were presented to them -- if any.
BPD lawyers may cloud the case if incriminating tapes are not allowed as evidence by a court judge. That may explain the BPD's refusal to comment on the evidence revealed by the vets.
We're wondering how long the BPD can keep up it's Wall of Silence. This may wind up as another lawsuit that gets billed to taxpayers. If the council approved the suspension, they have some explaining to do along with BPD. We know they've been misled in the past by high paid employees trying to cover their mistakes. Transparency is still the best disinfectant.
UPDATE: ON MONDAY IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT THE SUSPENDED VETS WILL GET FULL PAY DURING THEIR INVESTIGATION
CHRISTMAS EVE UPDATE: "NEVERMIND"....THE VETS WILL ONLY FIND COAL IN THEIR STOCKINGS
12/26 UPDATE A NEW FACEBOOK SITE HAS BEEN SET UP TO SUPPORT THESE VETS. HUNDREDS OF FOLLOWERS IN THE FIRST FEW HOURS: https://www.facebook.com/istandupforwarveterans