Reflections on 2016 and Goals for the New Year
I hope that all our brothers and sisters in blue and their families had a wonderful holiday season. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2017.
As we reflect back on 2016, let’s thank the 140 heroes who gave their lives to protect the citizens of this great nation — including three more who died from illnesses related to recovery work on 9/11 — and remember their families. This past year, we watched as officers lost their lives in planned assassinations just because they wore a uniform. The loss of just one officer is tragic enough, but to lose an officer every 62 hours is unbelievable and absolutely unacceptable. Enough is enough! This must be the year that we see this trend change.
I would like to thank the Legislative Committee for their hard work during 2016. This committee, led by Pete Guzzo and Chairman Richard Whelan, has been successful in getting numerous NJ FOP-supported bills signed into law. In 2017, we hope to have Assembly Bill 2690, which passed in the Assembly 77-0, introduced and passed in the Senate. This bill would expand the list of retired law enforcement officers eligible to receive a handgun carry permit. The State FOP will also fight to change the law to carry weapons into retirement to the age of 80 from the current age of 75.
In 2017, we will continue to investigate the separation of our pension plan from the state-run plan. In recent meetings, Executive Vice President Gries and I have worked hard to get the NJ FOP’s concerns included in the pension bill separation rough draft. The NJ FOP will continue diligently working on this issue to see if we can come up with a more secure pension system for you, the members.
The best thing about 2017 is that it’s the last year of Governor Christie, a governor who has attacked our profession from all angles. I look forward to working with a new governor who will have an open-door policy and allow the FOP to finally have a seat at the table on law enforcement issues, as we did in the past.
In closing, please watch out for your fellow officers. Our main goal is to return home to our families after a stressful day at work, like every other profession, but with attacks on officers on the rise across the nation in 2016, we must be extra vigilant to keep each other safe. Stay alert and stay alive.