18 Hoboken police officers to be laid off

September 16, 2010 4:10:55 AM PDT
They marched in the streets of Hoboken Wednesday night to protest the mayor's plan to layoff 18 police officers and demote 19 others.

"What's wrong with this plan is it puts the residents and business owners in Hoboken in jeopardy by firing 18 cops," said Detective Vince Lombardi, of the Hoboken Police Department.

But Mayor Dawn Zimmer, whose plan will save $2.5 million a year, says she will take cops away from desk jobs and move them out onto the street, and that will increase public safety.

"I am not in any way going to compromise our public safety," Zimmer said. "It's extremely important to my administration, and I'm going to make sure that we have more police officers on the street through our redeployment process."

She says that she has to provide tax relief because the city is overburdened by taxes with a bloated city payroll.

"There are financial issues," she said. "We had the City of Hoboken suffered from an 80 percent tax increase, and we need to reduce these taxes. And part of how we are going to reduce taxes is by reducing personnel costs."

None of that means very much to police officer Ray Calderone, who will lose his job.

"It's going to be a big change in my life," he said. "I'm sure I could go on and do something else, but it's not going to be what I want to do. I'm not going to be doing what I want to do, what I set out to do."

In the end, all of the protests may have been a moot point. The mayor says she does not need council approval for the layoffs, and she intends on going forward with them.