NJ Police, Firefighters Protest Staff Cuts Outside Statehouse

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A sea of blue, black and gold surrounded the Statehouse as up to 12,000 off-duty and retired New Jersey police and firefighters rallied to protest staff cuts and promote public safety.

Gov. Chris Christie blames the lay offs on the unions, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“We put our lives on the line every single day,” a Lakewood patrolman, who saw Officer Christopher Matlosz gunned down two months ago, said. “Every day I leave my house and I kiss my wife goodbye may be the last time.”

The public safety workers say budget cuts and layoffs have thinned their ranks to unsafe levels. They also object to proposals by Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney to raise their contributions for pension and health benefits.

Protesting officers say crime will rise, reports WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond

“They can yell and scream and do all the stuff they want to do but it doesn’t change the facts; the money is not there,” Christie said. “They’re getting laid off because they refuse to compromise in any way.”

Democrats in the Legislature lined up to speak at Thursday’s event.

The rally was the second at the Statehouse in a week. The AFL-CIO sponsored a unity rally for Wisconsin state workers Friday. They were fighting limits on their right to collectively bargain.

Public safety workers began setting up for their rally before dawn. The state Police Benevolent Association had 110 buses.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • JD

    Has anybody heard the ad being run on 1010Wins by some civil servant union? It is downright threatening. You’d think they’d have better sense that to threaten New Yorkers. Nothing sets up a fight that someone getting in your face and telling you that they DEMAND RESPECT. My friends, you EARN respect, not demand it. And I have yet to be convinced that the majority of the civil service employees have earned anything, let alone my respect.

  • mak

    You know, I’m getting kind of sick of their bellyaching. Sure, they are doing a tremendous service for the communities but they also signed up for the job. They weren’t drafted. They voluntarily signed up and are getting paid handsomely for their services. It’s funny how the ‘here to serve the community’ mantra goes into martyr mode whenever it comes down to money. They are willing to share in the sacrifices. They want to keep everything they have and to hades with the rest of us. I look at these ‘heroes’ now with resentful eyes. Sad.

    • mak

      Correction: I meant to say: They ARE NOT willing to share in the sacrifices.

      • njboomer

        Yeah, they should follow Wall Street’s example. Millionaires have set the gold standard for shared sacrifice. When we ALL share the financial burden for the good of the country I think all this bellyaching by our public servants will cease. In the meantime I hope your house does not catch fire or is broken into. I hope it never snows again so the roads will not need to be plowed. I hope you do not have children who need to be educated. Private sector wages have gone south because private sector workers have no ability to bargain. Reengineering and outsourcing have decimated private sector employment in the last 30 years. Now Republicans want to drive public sector workers’ wages and benefits down as well. I hope the bellyaching continues. I hope it is loud. I hope it is prolonged. Oh, and JD, they HAVE earned our respect. They do it every day.

  • Don

    There are so many of you that have so many negative things to say about police officers. The truth is police officers and firefighters pay the most towards their pension in the state. The truth is the education system is what is sending the state into bankruptcy! Take a look at your tax bill and look where your property taxes go. Everyone seems to think that a better education is hiring more teachers and keep throwing more and more money at the problems.

    • http://www.meetup.com/Natural-Born-Citizen-Coalition-for-Legal-Action/ ladysforest

      The truth is WELFARE is what is sending the state into bankruptcy.

  • Johnboy

    Why are the give backs always put to the people that have to get their hands dirty? The working people. The people that brave the weather, danger, and real life situations. We are tax payers too. We live where you live, our kids go to school with your kids. I have been working and paying for a pension for 20 years so far. I’m an average Joe, like you. The economy is not our fault. How about double and triple dipping in pensions, working more then one job at the same time, and large expense accounts. Start sharing the pain at the top.


    Judging from the comments below, I can see they are very busy in the state house AND mob homes. The truth is that none of you armchair heroes had the guts to go out and apply or couldn’t pass a background check. Now you think it’s time for revenge, but the decent hardworking people are starting to realize that this agenda of waging war on cops, firemen, etc will hurt them all in the long run. As for Christie, his weight should only plunge as fast as his poll numbers. His tough guy talk is a lot of hot air. The only thing he was ever tough on was a plateful of hamburgers. He has ALWAYS been surrounded by protection, so he can afford to cut yours. Remember THAT when your house is burglarized or you are being robbed.

    • Homie

      Believe me, I won’t count on you to come and save me as it will be all over by the time your get there.

  • Don

    For th cop haters out there you say these things like we are overpaid and have way too may benefits and we are spoiled. Remember always you get what you pay for. See what kind of people you get when the pay is a lot less and there is no pension. I am an educated police officer and yes I did attend one of New Jerseys best Universities!People who have anything to say about cops either are jealous, didn’t have what it takes, or just don’t have the balls. For the guy who walks in NY and compares it to being a cop, grow a set and remember who you call when your afraid!

    • Tommy

      You went to one of NJ’s best universities? You should have taken 4th grade english. In your last sentence “your” should be “you’re”. Besides that, I’m sure you are a very nice police officer. Unfortunately many of your co-workers are a-holes and treat ordinary citizens like criminals and are abusive with their power. That is why many people dislike cops. Also the overtime padding to increase pension – 3/4 pay disability abuse thing further erodes the public trust.

      • thecop

        Tommy get it right, a police officers pension is calculated on base salary without overtime…………your.you’re….get over it

  • Dunkin Donuts Owner

    I will lose alot of business if police officers are laid off. I have 5 kids to support and a wife.

  • jerseyjoey

    BC Your a lemming mindless over inflated dusch bag LIBERAL cop loving moron. Tell you what Spengalli if you love the cops so much pay them that 200K salary you think they should get out of YOUR POCKET not mine DFA.

  • liwingnut

    Every time I leave the house may be for the last time too…..That goes for anyone, not just cops and firemen….

    • Tommy

      Well said wingnut! You never know when a bus or speeding police car might run you down.

    • johnny

      I agree. While they do us a good service, the “I might not come back” rhetoric is getting kind of old as an argument for more money. I’m also tired of the “Hero” status automatically apllied to everything as a means of pushing their unions agenda.

      Everytime I walk the street in NYC, it might be my last time considering the self-defense laws suck around here.

  • Cracking Up

    Face it. The economy stinks for most people, unless they are like movie stars or heirs to a fortune. All the protesting in the world won’t change that. I personally spend $1,900 per month for health insurance premiums for family’s HSA healthcare plan, I have no pension and no sickdays. And when I lose my job, I have to pray to my God, retrain, network and find a new one. Just like most of us working stiffs who have no union to represent us. There is a finite amount of money. If the benefits are too good, then there have to be less workers.

  • BC

    Yes, police officers should make $200,000 per year instead of the $100,000 they make after 5-7 years on the job. And they should be able to retire with a lifetime pension and benefits after just 10 years on the job, not the current 20 years. Taxpayers should pay the cost of your retirement because you guys are heroes. All police officers are heroes. The public should know that police officers wanted to serve and protect the public from danger and didn’t take the job just because of the salary, benefits, and/or lack of other opportunities (2 year college and/or military service opens a lot of doors).

    • thecop

      They all complain about what we get, 95% would fail a background check, the other 4.99% say I could never do that. We knew going into it, swing shifts, working most holidays, only some weekends off, ordered overtime, the dept. owns you 24/7. Once the benefits for working at McDonalds is equal to any Police Department, what is that going to do to the quality of personnel? If you have a brush with the law you just go back to work, we lose our job! The pension is the reward for staying clean, risking our life for yours even if you are criminal and being owned by the town for 25 years…………you cant relate, its that simple.

    • johnny

      Oh really? What other job is going to pay you six figures with some garbage cooking class degree from some no name college?

  • cptsoap

    The only thing I find not so smart is that they are laying off cops in the worse neighborhoods. Why not the Rich towns where cops just eat Donuts all day.

  • mike l

    wha wha wha….go back to work you cry babies. if you negotiate properly, the lay offs wounded be needed, but you unions demand too much.

    • thecop

      Mike l, you wouldnt last a week…………..

  • Homie

    Aren’t they going to be arrested demonstrating without a permit?

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