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Cops at Off-Duty Jobs: Sitting Ducks?

The unfortunate events which have dominated the headlines over the last few days highlight the growing divisions in our country between the police and those who they are sworn to protect. In my considerable experience working with law enforcement, I have learned that the vast majority of police officers are honest, hardworking individuals who are willing to risk their lives despite seldom receiving thanks for doing so.

The massacre in Dallas underscores the growing threat against police officers by certain segments of the population who seem to have difficulty separating the bad apples from the vast majority of great men and women who serve and protect day in and day out. Prior to Dallas, we all remember too vividly the NYPD officers who were brutally gunned down.

Police and the public entities which employ them are wide awake to the threats confronting police today. Police may be targets while sitting in their patrol cars, or virtually anywhere that they go. This being the case, a number of New Jersey police departments remain non-compliant with New Jersey Department of Community Affairs recommendations that any and all off-duty work for police officers in uniform be run through the public entities for which they work.

Any New Jersey public entity that fails to handle off-duty jobs in the prescribed way is opening itself to liability. In a worst case scenario, a public employer which does not handle off-duty "jobs in blue" through the employer leaves police and their families vulnerable. If an officer is not working under the auspices of their agency when off-duty, and become a victim of an attack, it is possible that the officer and his or her family may not be permitted to receive the same types of pension and insurance benefits that the officers would get if attacked while on duty.

If your department is non-compliant with the DCA recommendations, please contact Plosia Cohen LLC to help reorganize your off-duty policing program to protect officers, their families, and the public entities that they serve.

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