My proposal involves unifying all police departments of New Jersey into one single, well trained and equipped force. The plan is simple in itself and it is would have a phase of standardization of all salary guides. The question of salaries, because there are great disparities in New jersey, would be probably the most complicated issue. The unification plan would be set in motion once legislative and popular approvals are in place.
Chain of command would be streamlined. This would involve the reduction of higher officers and perhaps NCO’s, depending on the number existing now. All eliminations would be done by attrition. Positions targeted would simply not be refilled once the occupants retire.
Intelligence would have a centralized structure. Acquisition would still occur at the local level and stored in a central data base.
The Mobile Group (MG): If we want to see what this group will NOT do, I recommend you watch the film “The Battle of Algiers”. The MG is not taking over. Enforcement will always be the function of the local force. The MG will be deployed in high crime areas, as needed to saturate the streets, deny the streets to the adversary, and provide the physical and psychological margin of security for the population to feel safe and protected.
The MG will be the entry level. Number of precincts will remain essentially unchanged.
Between municipalities, counties, sheriffs, and the state, we have almost 700 hundred police departments in N.J. The 700 hundred will be merged into one. To address the issue of salary disparities, we must look at the most logical and inexpensive way for the state.
There are a number of local unions representing most if not all police departments in N.J. All the local unions have their respective contracts with their employers – towns, counties, etc. The state would adopt all the existing contracts and from them on would negotiate new contracts only when an old contract expires.
In contract negotiations, it will be the policy of the state to hold down the salaries in the best paid units and award better increases to the lower paid units so the gaps are gradually closed. It will take years but it is the only practical approach. I believe that such policy by the state would be very solid because even in fact-finding – a normal procedure during contract negotiations – the data would support the state policy.
Merging unions would have no effect on this policy. That is a matter between local unions and the state has no role in it. When practical, contracts could be merged as well but it would not be a necessity. Accordingly, any one local union could conceivably have more than one contract with the state as they have now with different municipalities.