Clifton NJ police: Resignations amid contract impasse

Bizar Male

CLIFTON — Hopes that a new police contract would stem the exodus of young police officers have been dashed by a myriad of legal complications and bad luck. 

In the past month alone, two officers have left the force for heftier paychecks. With their departures, a total of six officers have left in 2021, officials said. That follows a year in which only one officer left. 

It continues a long-term pattern. Since 2013, Clifton has hired 96 officers. Of those, 45 resigned, Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Thomas Sucameli said.

Low pay relative to other departments is the overarching issue. But a complicating factor is the series of roadblocks that have prevented a new contract between the police union and the city. 

With the two sides unable to come to terms, the matter was sent to arbitration. That’s where it has been since May 2020.  

Sucameli said the union is letting the process play out. 

“We are patiently awaiting the arbitrator’s decision,” he said, adding that he doesn’t want it to appear that the union is trying to press a decision. 

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