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Scandal rocks Police Dept in Elizabeth, NJ

Glenn Townes | 10/17/2013, 2:39 p.m.

More than two dozen law enforcement officials—including a captain, sergeant and several detectives with the Elizabeth Police Department—are under investigation regarding allegations that the cops were paid thousands of dollars for patrol duty assignments they never completed, officials announced last week.

According to various media reports, the officers involved were assigned to work additional patrol and security duty at four of the city’s biggest senior citizens housing complexes, including O’Donnell-Dempsey Towers; Ford Leonard Towers and Farley Towers. The facilities, along with Kennedy Arms, house mostly elderly African-American residents. Most of the law enforcement agents involved in the corruption scandal are from the narcotics division.

According to various eyewitnesses and dozens of surveillance cameras, officers assigned to patrol the buildings either showed up late, left early or never showed up at all, yet they were paid full wages for the “no show” or “occasionally show” assignments. Additionally, some administrative personnel within the department were told to falsify time sheets and lie about the whereabouts of officers during working hours to senior officials. Officials at the Union County prosecutor’s office refused to comment regarding specifics of the ongoing investigation other than to say a number of law officer agents are involved.

Some residents at the housing complex call the allegations and behavior of the officers “deplorable.” “I’ve lived in these projects for more than 10 years,” said one tenant who refused to give her name. “It’s terrible that as senior citizens we depend on the police to protect and patrol the buildings, and they are nowhere around!”

Several of the officers involved could face legal action, and several sources said some of the administrators involved have already been demoted.