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New jersey Cops Who Have Been Disciplined Can Go To Arbitration, Now Court Rules College Officers Can Too!

The New Jersey Supreme Court concluded on Monday that officers working for college and university police agencies in the state are certainly entitled to special arbitration in disciplinary proceedings.

The case included Gregory DiGuglielmo, a police officer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), who was let go by the school in late 2019 after he was arrested in a case that received brief media attention.

From the moment DiGuglielmo filed for arbitration, NJIT and their lawyers fought it, citing, among other things, the fact that campus police personnel are not the same as municipal police officers.

New jersey Cops Who Have Been Disciplined Can Go To Arbitration, Now Court Rules College Officers Can Too!

The state agency’s original ruling that DiGuglielmo was eligible was overturned by a Superior Court panel in late 2020 after an appeal by NJIT. The Supreme Court’s judgment reinstates DiGuglielmo’s eligibility for arbitration, reversing the prior appeals court decision.

All college or campus officers are now shielded from disciplinary action through mandatory arbitration in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling. Legal counsel for DiGuglielmo, Joshua Forsman, hailed the ruling as a win for his client and for all police officers in New Jersey.

He predicted that this would have far-reaching consequences across the state. According to Forsman, campus police frequently “slip through the cracks” in such situations. Say it with me now: “That’s a positive development.”

New jersey Cops Who Have Been Disciplined Can Go To Arbitration, Now Court Rules College Officers Can Too!

Forsman has claimed that DiGuglielmo is looking forward to “full vindication” after his long battle for justice. A message left with NJIT seeking comment on the decision went unanswered for some time.

The initial event happened on August 26th, 2019. Previous court decisions state that DiGuglielmo and another police officer he was training at NJIT arrested a youngster near the Newark campus after a pursuit involving traffic violations.

Someone who witnessed the arrest recorded a 27-second clip on Twitter that shows the boy being pinned to the ground and handcuffed. No longer available on the internet. A few days later, the university released a statement calling the incident “concerning” and “troubling” and saying that two campus police officers had been suspended pending an internal investigation;

New jersey Cops Who Have Been Disciplined Can Go To Arbitration, Now Court Rules College Officers Can Too!

however, the university did not disclose any other details about the incident, including the officers’ names. DiGuglielmo’s identity was revealed during the court process, but the other officer remains anonymous. When, if ever, the teen was charged with a violation is unknown.

He was also never named in the media.
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Following an investigation conducted at NJIT’s request, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office concluded there was insufficient evidence to file charges of excessive force.

According to the appeals decision issued in 2020, the NJIT police department conducted an investigation on DiGuglielmo and concluded that he had broken seven department rules. At the beginning of 2020,

New jersey Cops Who Have Been Disciplined Can Go To Arbitration, Now Court Rules College Officers Can Too!

DiGuglielmo filed a complaint with the state’s PERC (Public Employment Relations Commission), which investigates and rules on disputes involving public employees. For municipalities not covered by the state’s Civil Service system, he advocated for “special disciplinary arbitration” for police and firefighters.

Lawyers representing the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) argued that DiGuglielmo was not entitled to special arbitration since it was only available to officers in municipal police departments and the NJIT police were part of a university.

As PERC saw it, all that was necessary for DiGuglielmo to receive the special arbitration was a timely filing, which he had done. The case then proceeded to trial. where attorneys from both NJIT and Rutgers University argued against campus police officers being subject to mandatory arbitration,

New jersey Cops Who Have Been Disciplined Can Go To Arbitration, Now Court Rules College Officers Can Too!

claiming that their institutions’ police forces are separate and distinct from municipal police departments around New Jersey. After the university appealed the judgment, which was upheld in late 2020, university attorneys argued that DiGuglielmo was ineligible because, in their limited interpretation of state legislation, the officer had not been suspended without pay prior to the termination.

Although the appeals court ruled against DiGuglielmo‘s request for special arbitration, it did find that campus police departments are true “law enforcement” agencies because their personnel has the same authority as their municipal counterparts.

New jersey Cops Who Have Been Disciplined Can Go To Arbitration, Now Court Rules College Officers Can Too!

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous judgment (among its five judges) that DiGuglielmo is qualified for special arbitration, ruling on the issue alone.
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After parsing the state statute’s legalese,

they concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that the state Legislature intended to bar special arbitration for campus police officers. We appreciate your faith in us as your reliable source for local news.

New jersey Cops Who Have Been Disciplined Can Go To Arbitration, Now Court Rules College Officers Can Too!

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