705 New Jersey police officers laid off since January have been unable to find work in law enforcement again, says survey by the State Policemen's Benevolent Association, the state's largest police union, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. The survey includes all officers, not just those represented by the union. Like the thousands of other New Jerseyans laid off in the crippling economy, the officers have struggled to pay their bills, taking on part-time work like truck driving, plumbing and private security, said association president Anthony Wieners.
Municipalities forced to lay off officers are still financially strapped, he said. “There's nobody hiring, and if they are, it's very sporadic.” This month, Trenton laid off 105 of its city police officers, a third of the force. Police forces in other economically depressed large cities have suffered a similar fate. In Camden, more than half of the 93 total officers laid off earlier this year haven't found new jobs in law enforcement, said the local police union president John Williamson. Last month, Williamson sounded an alarming tone by warning of possible riots in the streets if more officers were not rehired. Williamson said he stands by those words today. “This is not fear mongering,” he said. “Based on my observations and history in the U.S. and in the world, where people feel desperate and impoverished, they tend to let out their frustrations.”