JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Mayor Steven M. Fulop and Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino today announced that they have partnered on a plan for Jersey City to offer positions with the Jersey City Police Department to the 23 Bergen County police officers who were laid off last month.

The officers, who were laid off from their jobs at the end of June, would be eligible under the Rice Act to be re-employed by Jersey City without the additional expense of academy training. They would be hired as police officers with their salary based on their years of experience.

“Both Bergen County and Jersey City saw this as an opportunity to keep the officers employed, while also continuing to grow the Jersey City Police Department,” said Mayor Fulop, who has made a push to grow the police department to its largest size in decades. “We see this as a way to seamlessly add experienced officers to the force, keep the officers employed so they can continue to support their families, and increase public safety in Jersey City.”

Since taking office in July of 2013, Mayor Fulop has hired more than 300 new police officers, bringing the department from an historic low of 779 officers to over 932 officers – its largest size in two decades. An additional class of 24 officers is also currently in the police academy expected to graduate in September. Mayor Fulop has pledged to expand the department further to ultimately reach over 950 officers.

“Despite our best efforts to avoid layoffs and retain every member of the Bureau of Police Services, we were unable to do so after PBA Local 49 rejected a proposal, by a single vote, that would have kept their fellow officers on the job in Bergen County. This partnership with Mayor Fulop and Jersey City makes the best of an unfortunate situation, ensuring impacted officers are employed and have the opportunity to continue in public service,” said Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino. “Jersey City families will be well served by these highly trained officers.”

The cost to hire the officers would be covered through the city’s budget and officer attrition, according to the press announcement from the mayor’s office.

“While this is certainly a difficult time for the officers and their families, we hope that they will consider working in Jersey City where they can continue to serve in law enforcement and be an asset to this community,” said Public Safety Director James Shea. “We believe this is way to turn this into a positive for both the officers, Bergen County and Jersey City.”

(Photo: Jersey City Police Department website)