$280,000 contract to enforce ‘One Strike Policy’, cover JCPD OT costs approved by Jersey City Council
The Jersey City Council unanimously approved a $280,000 contract, between the Fulop Administration and Jersey City Housing Authority, to enforce HUD’s controversial “One Strike Policy” and cover police overtime costs.
6/20/18 UPDATE: A statement provided by former JCPD Chief Robert Cowan has been added to the article.
After years of Jersey City Police Department (JCPD) officers stealing money from the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) through no-show, off-duty security jobs, the Fulop Administration and housing authority have implemented a bold new policy – assigning on-duty cops to provide security at JCHA sites.
Although on-duty JCPD officers will be provided for free to the housing authority during “regular hours,” the JCHA will pay for overtime costs – according to details from a resolution unanimously approved by the Jersey City Council last week.
The one-year agreement between the Fulop Administration and JCHA, effective June 15, 2018, defines “regular hours” from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. – everything outside of that time frame will be considered overtime. The housing authority will cover overtime costs for a total amount not to exceed $280,000.
According to the contract, the city will create a “Housing Unit” within the JCPD to be staffed with a minimum of four full-time officers and one supervisor to “enhance the safety and security of residents of public housing developments.”
Additionally, the JCHA agrees to pay overtime costs for each “Housing Unit Police Officer” based on rates ranging from $27.33 per hour to $63.03 per hour and $55.93 per hour to
$72.88 per hour for supervisors.
Of note, Mayor Steven Fulop’s longest serving police chief, Philip Zacche, was convicted by federal authorities for embezzling, stealing, obtaining by fraud, misapplying, and without authority knowingly converting money belonging to the JCHA, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). More JCPD officers are expected to be arrested for their role in the JCHA off-duty fraud, according to multiple sources.
In a statement emailed to Real Jersey City following publication of this article, former JCPD Chief Robert Cowan said “the last thing the Jersey City Police Department needs is a four officer special unit to patrol the multiple housing authority properties that are geographically remote from one another.”
“The creation of a special Police Housing Unit will result in a lack of accountability, the possibility of continued no-show jobs, as well as many other problems that are present when police officers are afforded the latitude and freedom to roam the entire city accountable to only one supervisor.”
Furthermore, the resolution authorizing the contract states the purpose of the agreement is to provide the JCHA with “police officers to help foster and promote the housing authority’s “One Strike Policy” and serve as liaisons with the JCPD.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) “One Strike Policy” has faced criticism from progressive activists and politicians in recent years. The policy, which originated during the Clinton Administration, “is a strict, straightforward policy that ensures that public housing residents who engage in illegal drug use or other criminal activities on or off public housing property face swift and certain eviction.”
Then-HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo (D), now the Governor of New York, stated in 1997 that:
Make no mistake about it; in public housing, drugs are public enemy number one. We must have zero tolerance for people who deal drugs. They are the most vicious, who prey on the most vulnerable. They are the jailers, who imprison the elderly. They are the seducers, who tempt the impressionable young. They must be stopped. ‘One Strike and You’re Out’ is doingjust that.”
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has stated that the policy “encourages hardline rules against criminal activity without consideration of the effect of these devastating, and at times unfair, evictions.”
In a letter to then-HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who served in the Obama Administration, Waters wrote that “for too long, ‘one strike’ policies have been a stain on the federal government’s efforts to provide affordable housing to those in need, standing as a barrier to family reunification and contributing to the cycle of recidivism.”
“I urge you to conduct a thorough assessment of HUD’s authority on this issue, and within the existing statutory constraints, do everything in your power to eliminate this stain and achieve progress on this front.”
New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), who serves as chairperson of the JCHA Board of Commissioners, did not answer a phone call seeking comment on this story. If Mukherji does respond, his comment will be added to this story.
Jersey City spokesperson Kimberly Scalcione was not reached for comment on this story. It’s considered official Fulop Administration policy to ignore this journalist.
I appreciate that @JC_Gov Public Safety Director James Shea is getting straight to the point, but, for the record, I do write very polite emails to @KimWallaceJC. #JerseyCity pic.twitter.com/VWTJKPs0gf
— Real Jersey City (@RealJerseyCity) March 4, 2018