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Many NJ Officers Paid Nearly $200K For Questionable 'Details'

A study published by NJ Advance Media shows police officers adding thousands of dollars to their paychecks, increasing police spending that ranks high in the U.S. Some 1,500 local cops were paid more than $190,000 in 2019, more than many other public officials, and 13 made over $300,000. Officers worked taxpayer-funded overtime, out of town "details" and sometimes clocked hours they didn't work. The database found cops with over 100-hour work weeks, which studies indicate could make for unsafe decision-making and accidents. Cops like Constantinos Skoufas earned over $8,000 for hours he never worked. A significant portion of added money came from construction details, which is when cops are paid by companies to patrol their construction sites. These companies often pass the added cost on to consumers. Jersey City had to halt its police off-duty program when over a dozen officers were convicted of accepting money for work they did not perform.

Critics like justice studies Prof. Jason Williams of Justice Studies at Montclair State University, said that these expanding police budgets waste money that could be better spent on other public needs. On some details, "The officers really don't do anything. They just sit there," said Seth Stoughton, a University of South Carolina professor and former cop. "So why are we paying those officers for just sitting there?" Speaking of officers who consistently are paid for long working hours, Marc Pfeiffer of the Bloustein Local Government Research Center at Rutgers University, said, “I can say this probably without contradiction: it is not good for someone to work 100 hours a week. When you are in your 95th hour, you probably aren’t in as good a shape as you were in your fifth hour.” Patrick Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association argues that the extra pay is earned and that the quality of the officers reflects their compensation.


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