According to the public agenda, the first vote for the Jackson Police Department Public Safety Director is set to take place Tuesday – and at the same time, the Police Union could file a complaint over threats made to officers, TLS has learned.
Following the announcement of the statement issued by the PBA and SOA supporting the creation of the Public Safety Director, there has allegedly been threats made to officers within the Department, multiple sources said.
In their verbal statement late last month, the P.B.A. President Officer Jeff Henba and S.O.A. President Sergeant John Rodriguez stated they “have always supported the position of Chief of Police, and that “a strong Police Department with strong leadership is essential for the safety of the residents of Jackson.”
They added, “Currently, in order to ensure the continued success and strength of the Jackson Police Department, the Jackson P.B.A and the Jackson S.O.A support the creation of the position of Public Safety Director. Having a Public Safety Director will lead to an increase in the safety of our residents and increase the efficiency of our department and would be welcomed by the men and women of our unions.”
As earlier reported, even if the Township decided to appoint a Director, the Police Chief would remain in place.
However, immediately after the statement, threats were allegedly made to the officers – including threats of drastic cuts to staff and units.
In addition to the threats made, officers were allegedly presented with a petition indicating opposition to the Public Safety Director position and were requested to sign it.
“Despite the duress under which this petition was presented, only four individuals are believed to have signed, several of whom have already indicated they felt deceived and coerced by previous threats,” according to the Union. “As a result of these actions on that day, multiple members of the agency left the building for the remainder of the day to avoid being placed in a compromising position that they believed could effect their careers negatively.”
In response to the alleged threats, the Union is contemplating filing a formal complaint.
“At this time, the Union leadership is considering filing a formal complaint with the Township in regard to the these actions if it is deemed necessary to maintain the efficiency and productivity of the agency,” P.B.A. President Officer Jeff Henba and S.O.A. President Sergeant John Rodriguez said in a joint statement.
The ordinance is expected to pass on Tuesday, and the second reading a couple of weeks later.