ATLANTIC CITY - A vote by members of the city’s police union Tuesday could bring back more than a dozen laid-off officers.

Officers will be asked to give back $410 each in an effort to buy back enough officers to bring their ranks back to 300. The agreement would mean $123,000 returned to the city, covering the nearly $122,000 estimated to pay a month’s salary and benefits for about 17 officers. There are 283 officers in the department, according to the latest total.

A memorandum of understanding signed by Mayor Lorenzo Langford last week promises that — as long as the Policemen’s Benevolent Association makes the necessary concessions — the city will commit to a 300-officer force. In addition, about $1 million will be committed to maintain that level next year, with a maximum of 330 officers.

Two rounds of layoffs this year cut 60 officers from the ranks. But as the decreased manpower has pulled officers off investigations and onto the streets to handle increasing 911 calls, both sides have been working to bring some of those officers back.

Last month, PBA members voted 222-20 in favor of concessions they hoped would be enough to return all 60 of those who were laid off this year. Instead, Langford countered the offer. The result is the agreement being voted on Tuesday.

“I think it’s a strong agreement,” PBA President David Davidson Jr. said Monday. “We’ll take what we have to in order to bring as many people back as we can within reason.”

“I’m anxious to see this passed,” Deputy Chief Ernest Jubilee said of the agreement.

Jubilee admitted last week that it took about 40 minutes for investigators to respond to an armed robbery because there were only two detectives on duty. He stressed that officers were on the scene within a couple of minutes, but those who would investigate the crime were at a scene where shots had been fired and had to clear that before heading to the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! Museum, where an armed man robbed one of the cashiers.

He also likes the prospect of having as many as 330 officers next year.

“I’m very excited about that,” he said. “It would give us an added ability to deal with the crime problems in Atlantic City. It’s always better to have more officers on the streets.”

Langford spokesman Kevin Hall said the mayor likely would wait to comment until after Tuesday’s vote.

Davidson predicted that the measure would pass, although he does not believe it will be the “mandate” seen last month, when the ratio was more than 11 to 1.

“Guys are frustrated,” he said. “They are upset over the process. A lot of them have grown impatient. But I think, ultimately, at the end of the day, it will pass.”

Despite past animosity between the city and the union, Davidson praised the most recent result. He said changes the union requested to the agreement’s language were made without argument and that the mayor signed immediately.

Last month’s vote to return all the laid-off men and women would have seen the officers take two furlough days and give up both a paid personal day and their shoe and uniform allowance. But with just a month left in the year, furlough days would now be impossible to schedule, Davidson said. And the shoe and uniform allowance checks are being cut this week. Therefore, the paybacks seemed the only solution, he said.

“I believe this is something that could have been taken care of in the beginning of the year,” said Davidson, whose son is No. 31 on the list to be rehired. “I’m surprised only in the sense that it’s taken this long to get here.”

Twenty officers were cut in June, and another 40 lost their jobs Sept. 30, along with 30 city firefighters. In the five months since the layoffs began, there have been eight homicides in the city in which no arrests were made. In the first five months of the year, four people were killed, with arrests in three of those crimes.

Officers would be hired back according to their spot on the state Department of Personnel-approved list.

1. Christopher Inman

2. Rebecca Seabrook

3. Christopher Smith

4. Victor Garofalo

5. Joseph Bereheiko

6. Matthew Schmidt

7. Josh Vadell

8. Innocenzo Visceglia

9. Brian Hambrecht

10. Darrell Catanio

11. Dawn Riggs

12. Ferdinand Berrios-Rodriquez

13. Ann Martin

14. Sterling Wheaten

15. Michael Braxton

16. Amir Hughes

17. Marinela Pali

18. Michael Shafman

19. Justin Draper

20. Steven Melchiore

21. Marquay Cherry

22. Roberto Matos

23. Avette Harper

24. George King

25. Eric Wessler

26. Daniel Roe

27. Christopher Lodico

28. Kyle Eisenbeis

29. Joseph Caprio

30. Joseph Procopio

31. Philip Davidson

32. Alberto Gonzalez

33. Cecil Randall III

34. Syed Shah

35. Darrin Lorady

36. Kevin Law

37. Charles Stuart

38. Henry White III

39. Jose Rodriguez

40. James Hurley

 

Contact Lynda Cohen:

609-272-7257