In a prosperous, wholesome community like Medford, the police department plays an integral role in the protection of property, the safety of our children, and the welfare of our community. In the current economic crisis, the security we have all come to expect will be jeopardized with the layoff of police officers.
At the emergency township council meeting held on April 8, 2011, the township mayor and Council announced the possibility of township-wide staff reductions later determined to be up to 70 percent of the current police staffing level. The members of the Medford Township Police Department were stunned by this announcement, as they were previously assured by mayor and Council that there would be no police layoffs. Also during this meeting, Acting Township Manager Stephen Addezio asserted, on record, that pending layoffs are due to a lack of concessions by all bargaining unions in the township, including the Medford Township Police Officer’s Association. This statement made by Acting Township Manager Addezio is inconsistent with the facts.
The members of the Medford Township Police Officer’s Association began negotiations on the existing police contract in July of 2009, ultimately finalizing negotiations in February of 2011. While in negotiations, members of the association were assured that concessions made would prevent layoffs of police officers. Members of the association made concessions in good faith not only to be protected from police layoffs, but also to be accountable to the members of the community, and to continue to maintain a high level of service to them. The following are among the notable concessions that were made during the contract negotiations:
• Officers agreed to an 18 month pay freeze
• Officers forfeited Uniform Allowance resulting in annual savings of over $75,000 to the township
• Minimum service of 20 years with Medford Township required to secure retirement benefits (no previous length of employment requirement)
Despite these concessions, mayor and Council opted to adversely affect the safety and security of the residents of Medford Township in the following ways:
• As of January 1, the Medford Township Police Communications Center was closed, resulting in a purported annual savings of $600,000
• As of January 1, the Medford Township Special Response Team (SWAT) was cut and disbanded resulting in a purported annual savings of $65,000
• As of March 1, the previous Chief of Police retired, and his position has not been replaced
• The current Captain of Police and Executive Officer of the police department has announced his retirement effective July 31, and there are no plans to fill this vacancy
• The agency is currently understaffed by seven police officers due to attrition including two sergeant positions and one corporal position.
The Medford Township Police Department has a rich history of providing quality policing to our community. In an agency that has already experienced massive reductions in personnel as well as positions; any additional cuts will be catastrophic. For every officer that is laid off, the ability to provide the high level of service that you are accustomed to will be significantly diminished. On April 27, there will be a referendum vote to exceed the 2 percent tax cap. The passage of this referendum is pivotal in maintaining the current level of township-wide services. The officers of the Medford Township Police Department have always answered your calls, please answer ours.
Protect Medford Township for less than the cost of a cup of coffee, just 90 cents a day.
For more information, visit www.savemedford.com.
The Medford Township Police Officer’s Association