An army reservist has been disqualified from becoming a Paterson police officer due to his four-year-old domestic violence record, according to state documents.
Luis Salerna was on list to become a police officer at the Paterson Police Department after passing the competitive examination for police officer on May 5, 2014, but his name was subsequently removed by the city following an “unsatisfactory background report.”
An Iraq veteran and an EMT, Salerna was arrested on February 26, 2010 in North Carolina and charged with harassing phone calls and assault on a female in an incident involving his estranged ex-wife.
Both charges were dismissed on November 18, 2010.
Salerna participated in a 26-week program and received six-month supervised probation, according to state documents.
After the city removed his name disqualifying him from becoming a police officer, Salerna filed an appeal with the state’s Civil Service Commission. Salerna “asserts that the domestic violence incident with his now ex-wife was merely a misdemeanor summons which was dismissed following his completion of a diversionary probationary program in North Carolina,” according to documents.
Salerna also argued the matter was an “isolated incident that occurred over five years ago and he has not been involved in any other incidents before or since that time,” according to documents.
In an October 9, 2015 decision the state denied Salerna’s appeal siding with the city. The prospective Paterson cop’s charges were “undoubtedly serious.” State records state “not enough time” had elapsed to declare Salerna has rehabilitated himself despite the 26-week program.
“Although the arrest appears to be an isolated incident,” read the decision, Salerna “was an adult at the time of his arrest.”
“The public expects police officers to present a personal background that exhibits respect for the law and rules,” read the decision. Clearly, Salerna’s background is inimical to that goal, read the decision.