A city police traffic enforcement officer unsuccessfully attempted to become a police officer as a result of his “negative encounters with law enforcement over the years.”
Traffic enforcement officer Andrew Gales was hired as a police assistant in 2009. Gales joined the city’s police department in the hopes of becoming a police officer after completing a year as police assistant.
In 2010 police promotional examination opened and Gales put in an application. When the civil service eligible list, a selection of candidates from which to hire, was released Gales was the only eligible on the list. His application was good through November 16 of this year. In 2013 the city attempted to remove Gales from the eligible list so as to deprive him obtaining police officer title.
The department alleged Gales has “unsatisfactory employment record, unsatisfactory criminal record, unsatisfactory driving record, unsatisfactory background report,” according to a civil service ruling two weeks ago. The city alleged he was arrested “on at least three previous occasions,” he was “terminated on two previous occasions” due to chronic absenteeism and he received written reprimand.
He was arrested for harassment, assault, and contempt of court, the city alleged.
Also cited was two alleged temporary restraining order against Gales, “six reportable motor vehicle accidents” and “at least 24 tickets for parking offenses and moving violations.” The department also alleged Gales “failed a psychological evaluation” when he tried to get a job with the New Jersey Department of Corrections. The city also alleged Gales was forced to resign from his job at the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office when a domestic violence temporary restraining order was filed against him.
City alleged Gales was also found to have been charged with “conduct unbecoming a public employee and for lack of truthfulness” by the prosecutor’s office.
Gales appealed the removal of his name from the eligible list stating that Glenn Brown who was police director at the time was out to “extract revenge” over animosities that Gales, his great aunt, and Brown had developed while all three were employed at the prosecutor’s office. That enmity carried over when Brown and Gales were again employed at the same place.
Gales in his appeal said he was never charged with untruthfulness but he was charged with conduct unbecoming of a public employee. He stated he was charged with simple assault in a 2002 incident in Newark and in another arrest the charges against him were dismissed. Gales’s appeal also said the temporary restraining orders were flawed.
His appeal disputed the number of tickets mentioned by the city and added they were either paid or dismissed. Documents show he expunged his records in 2010. Gales also had an independent doctor submit a psychological evaluation which stated he was fit to take on the duties of a correctional officer.
Under certain conditions a department can remove individuals from the eligible list based on a candidate’s background by taking into account the “nature and seriousness of the crime,” circumstance surrounding the crime, “whether the crime was an isolated event,” and other considerations.
“Notwithstanding his explanations or the facts that each of these matters were ultimately dismissed, expunged or adjudicated, it cannot be ignored that the appellant [Gales] has a significant history of adverse encounters with law enforcement which spans more than ten years,” read an opinion issued on October 27 by an administrative judge. “While this background was not sufficient to remove the appellant’s [Gales’s] name from the eligible list for the non-law enforcement title of police assistant, these qualities are clearly not acceptable for those seeking police office[r] positions.”
Gales presently works as a traffic enforcement officer at the city.
His appeal was denied.