Atlantic City, NJ Reach Agreement Over Police Layoffs

Nine months after Atlantic City’s police union sued New Jersey state officials over forced layoffs, the two sides have reached an agreement.

A new contract announced Friday reduces staffing levels in an effort to control costs in the financially distressed city.

When the state seized control of Atlantic City’s administration in November 2016, the police department had 283 on staff, according to a release from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The new agreement reduces the force to 252 officers.

With fewer cops walking the beat, shifts for remaining officers will lengthen from 10 hours to 12 hours. To reduce future costs to the department, the contract caps unused sick time payments, or “terminal leave,” benefits at $15,000 per officer. It also keeps salary and benefit changes that took effect in March.

These and other changes to the police contract come as a part of the Christie administration’s effort to reverse Atlantic City’s declining fortunes.

The state took control of the city’s administration after it had racked up $500 million in debt. The new police contract doesn’t immediately cut costs, but it doesn’t increase them either, according to the Department of Community Affairs.

Representatives for the state and the Atlantic City Police Benevolent Association Local 24 did not immediately return requests for comment.

From WHYY.org