N.J. Attorney General Blocks Public Knowledge Of State Police Overtime Pay

In what some advocates of open government call an unprecedented overreach, Attorney General Paula Dow has blocked the public from knowing how much overtime State Police troopers and other state law enforcement officers earn. Dow’s rule, which took effect this month, is part of a larger effort by the attorney general to make confidential any records that “may reveal or lead to information that may reveal” an officer’s assignment.

The measure applies to the State Police and any other law enforcement officers that work under the Department of Law and Public Safety, but not local police departments, said Leland Moore, a spokesman for Dow.

But open government advocates said the move by Dow restricts basic financial information, and that the taxpayers of New Jersey have a right to track public spending, including overtime.

“Public employees, including law enforcement, have never liked the public knowing how much they make,” said Ron Miskoff of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government. “But the public is paying the freight and I don’t see how knowing someone’s overtime is going to put anyone in danger.”

State records show that troopers earned $25.5 million in overtime last year, and as of September they made $15.7 million. Topping the list was Sgt. Robert Galik, assigned to Turnpike duty, who earned $63,221 in overtime last year. He has made $50,685 through the first nine months of this year, the second highest amount among troopers.

Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the American Civil Liberties of New Jersey, said she was “bewildered” by Dow’s decision, especially concerning the State Police, which has a troubled history.

“They should be doing everything possible to make it as transparent as they can,” Jacobs said.

But Maki Haberfeld, chairwoman of the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, defended the limits, saying public access to overtime for individual officers may expose those assigned to undercover work who earn a lot of extra pay.

“I’m not in favor of the public’s knowledge as far as assignments are concerned, and overtime is related to assignments,” Haberfeld said. More in Star Ledger.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. “public access to overtime for individual officers may expose those assigned to undercover work who earn a lot of extra pay.” –

    thats a bunch of malarkey. this is nothing more than a plot to cover people milking the clock a few years prior to retirement.
    those assigned to undercover, work generally no more than those assigned to patrol or regular duties. over-time in police work is abundant given the fact that often officers get into a call that requires extra paper-work or investigative work like motor-vehicle accidents and large scale crimes shortly before their shift ends – all of which requiring over-time.
    working undercover in large scale departments like the NJSP is nothing more than “an average day at the office” for troopers. unless its officers who volunteer to work a few over-time hours here & there buying or selling narcotics on a fri/sat night.

    so what im trying to say is between patrolmen and undercover officers, the over-time wont be that significant for someone to be able to oin-point and say look: all of these officers work exactly 40hours per week, but THIS ONE works 80, so he must be an undercover!
    times vary so much every week/month that it will be almost impossible to simply judge over-time immediately as an “undercover”.

  2. The fact that the public has access to Police Officers and State Troops name endanges both the Officer and their Families. The information should be released based on badge number only and not include names. The public will still be able to see the dollar figures and peoples personal information will be protected.

  3. are you kidding me . i have every right to know where every cent of my tax dollars going . we cannot trust these people to do what is best with our money any longer. transparentsy is key

  4. ask the Federal government where did the 15 trillion $ debt go thats much more of a concern to me than the overtime the state police earn which in comparrison is pennies

  5. #3 you have the right to know how much is being spent but the officers should only be identified by badge number not name. Printing the name endangers the officer and their family but you wouldn’t know anything about that because I’m willing to bet you have never served your community or been in the military.

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