Police Force Has 'No Confidence' in Chief and Captain
The manager said he will be thoroughly investigating the matter and making a recommendation to council on how to proceed
The Fair Lawn police union announced Friday that it had taken a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the police department under Chief Erik Rose and Capt. Joseph Cook.
Det. David Boone, president of Fair Lawn Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 67, said 92 percent of the members supported the no confidence vote, which took place Wednesday.
"Never in the history of our department have the members found it necessary to take such a vote, but never have we found ourselves in a position such as we are now," Boone said.
Since 2007, rank-and-file officers have filed multiple lawsuits against the department, Rose and Cook that allege harassment, discrimination and retaliatory tactics.
Boone said the same pattern of behavior alleged of Rose and Cook in the lawsuits had also been exercised toward many other officers who have not taken their issues to court.
Two of the major complaints cited by Boone against Rose and Cook were their unequal disciplining of officers and lack of personal accountability.
While the PBA vote doesn't carry the weight to remove Rose and Cook from their positions, it's significant for its public repudiation of the police department's leadership by the rank-and-file officers.
"To take a vote, it takes a lot to push you to go that far," Boone said. "It finally came to a head. Enough is enough. This has gone on a long time."
Results of the vote have been passed on to borough manager Tom Metzler, who said he would share them with council.
Metzler called it a "major step," by the PBA and said he was very concerned about the situation in the police department, but cautioned against any snap judgments.
He said for the sake of all parties involved, he would launch a thorough investigation into the matter, hear out both sides and make a recommendation to council in a timely fashion.
In December, borough council voted to shield Rose and Cook from liability in three of the lawsuits filed against them.