Wednesday, August 29, 2007

HOMELAND INSECURITY


Trooper's gun case retaliation charge cause for concern
Posted by the
Ocean County Observer on 08/22/07

There are some troubling allegations made in a lawsuit filed by a veteran State Trooper against the New Jersey State Police by someone uniquely qualified to know what he is talking about. The trooper who used to be the number two guy in the Firearms Training Unit, Sgt. First Class Robert Betten, claims the State Police could not account for all its guns, and gave some special cops and State Police brass a pass on the requirement that they demonstrate their proficiency with their pistol and shotgun twice a year.

When he tried to fix the problems, the full weight of the State Police bureaucracy landed on him, Betten said.

Among those he claims got a pass on the qualifying test in 2006 was the Superintendent, Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, and the head of the trooper's union, Trooper David Jones. Once Betten blew the whistle on them, they got make-up exams. When he criticized them, he was suddenly no longer in any supervisory position with the Firearms Training Unit. Instead he said he was retaliated against and denied promotions by members of the State Police.

Now he wants a jury to make them pay him for the results of that retaliation, because he said they violated the state's Conscientious Employee Protection Act, which is designed to protect whistleblowers.

There will be no early resolution of his claims and we're sure there is a lot more to the story that will emerge as the suit wends its way through the courts. But the State Police should reassure the public that they know where their guns are, and that those who have them know how to use them.
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