The city council passed a measure in late July to give hiring preference to former auxiliary police officers and constables for special police officer jobs.
“These employees are experienced and have many years working in the city of Paterson,” said Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman, chairman of the public safety committee, during the July 26th, 2016 council meeting.
The resolution allows constables and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) police volunteers to forgo taking the usual written aptitude exam administered to prospective special police officers through the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police for non-civil position, according to the measure.
Both groups will still have to comply with background checks, pay for medical evaluations, equipment, and undergo service training, according the resolution.
“This gives our own people — constables and former OEM employees — a leg up in the process,” said law director Domenick Stampone.
Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, sought assurances non-residents will not receive a leg up over city residents. Special police officers are required to be city residents, according to the ordinance that created the small force.
There’s 22 special police officers employed by the city. The city is looking to expand that force, according to officials.
“This gives our Paterson resident constables opportunities,” said Alex Mendez, councilman at-large. However, not everyone fully supported the measure. Council president William McKoy was a bit hesitant with the preferential treatment proposal, but he ended up voting for the measure.
The city disbanded its volunteer auxiliary police force that was run out of the OEM office in 2012 after two of the officers were involved in a deadly car chase that claimed the life of Randolph Waddy IV of Garfield.
The two officers — Jonathan Lopez and Juan Martinez – were tried and sentenced in early 2015. Martinez received an 18-month prison sentence and Lopez was given three-year probation.
Approximately 20 people made up the volunteer auxiliary police force, according to officials.