Fair Lawn Police Officer Resigns
Officer Juan Rodriguez will resign his position with the Fair Lawn Police Department effective June 29 and join the Paterson Police Department.
Rodriguez, an Afghanistan war veteran, had worked as a patrolman in Paterson for four years before being laid off by the department in 2011, and taking a job in Fair Lawn. When he was recently offered his old job back, the Paterson native and longtime resident decided to return to the department.
While Rodriguez could not be reached for comment, borough manager Tom Metzler said his decision to leave Fair Lawn was not made lightly.
"Per his conversations with me yesterday, it was not an easy decision for him," Metzler said Friday. "But Paterson offers lifetime healthcare benefits after they retire and Fair Lawn does not. I think the decision was an economic one."
Metzler said he did not believe Rodriguez's departure was related to internal strife within the department.
"He was nothing but grateful," Metzler said. "He said it was a very, very difficult decision for him, that he felt very well accepted in Fair Lawn and very well entrenched, enjoyed working in the community, was grateful for the opportunity to work here, but he just felt that this was what was best for him and his family."
With the resignation of Rodriguez, the already understaffed department is back down to 54 officers and will immediately begin looking for a replacement.