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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

The political discipline of the police force is perfect, complete. Although the policemen are allegedly under civil service, the organization has no difficulty in making them obey. If a patrolman opposes the regime or refuses to pay his assessments he cannot hope for promotion; on the contrary, life will be made miserable for him by his being given the worst assignments or by his being continually brought up on charges for some infringement of regulations. A case in point was Frank Reynolds, now retired, who was president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association in 1913. As the Hudson Dispatch said, `The organization [the P.B.A.] was not in working harmony with the [city] administration during Reynold's regime.' The Dispatch reported April 9, 1924, what happened to him:

Patrolman Frank Reynolds of the Oakland Avenue station, who was first on the list for promotion to sergeant in the Jersey City police department three times since the present list was promulgated, having been three times rejected by the City Commission, has had his name stricken from the list as provided in the civil service rules. When he was rejected by William B. Quinn last week when a dozen promotions were made, it was the tenth time in eleven years that Reynolds had been similarly treated.
Reynolds was stubborn, and in spite of every attempt to force him to resign, he remained on the force until his retirement.

The Jersey City and Hudson County police forces are so filled with relatives of politicians that a prominent official who cannot otherwise be disciplined may be reached by having his relatives demoted or dismissed. When Chief Justice Brogan, for instance, set the cost of the Clee recount at a mere eighteen dollars per box in 1937, he was punished by having certain of his kinsmen reduced from soft jobs to walking beats. Thus the police are themselves often hostages for the good political behavior of others.


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