February 19, 2014
“No one owns the Chief position. It’s not for sale,” said acting Bloomfield Police Chief James Behre. The 27-year New Jersey police veteran was speaking at a Town Council meeting, discussing the political corruption he was urged to take part in. Less than 48 hours later, he received a letter from Township Administrator Ted Ehrenburg, relieving him of his duties.
In his statement to the Council, Behre explained that he had experienced a lot of harassment in his job, causing significant stress. He said, however, that Councilman Carlos Bernard had made repeated offers for the harassment to stop and the position to be made permanent in exchange for favors to Latino policemen. These favors included pushing Latinos forward in line for Sergeants’ Exams, promoting Latinos to detective, and even fixing a parking ticket. He also asked Behre’s men to write tickets in his ward.
Bernard would follow his requests by saying “This will solidify your position as Chief, and your problems will go away,” said Behre, who emphasized that these requests interfered – in a political way – with the day-to-day operations of the police force. “I am working in a hostile and harassing work environment, daily…because I’m fighting for the citizens of this township, and I’m fighting for the 144 members of this police department.
Behre also said Bernard would use the word “‘we,’ to imply he’s there on behalf of the whole council.” Bernard was not at the Council meeting. In his statement, Behre said that the position of Police Chief belonged to the taxpayers, not to other officials, and that Hispanics are not more important than other minority groups. When Behre was placed on leave, officials – including the Mayor – claimed that it was due to concerns over Behre’s health.
Corruption isn’t a new phenomenon in politics, and it certainly isn’t a new phenomenon in New Jersey politics. It’s relevant to note, though, in large part because of the increasing number of appointed positions in America’s local, state and federal governments. Indeed, UN Agenda 21 specifically advocates the creation of more and more unelected and bureaucratic positions.
People in unelected positions report to other officials – many of whom may have agendas – instead of simply to the people. This creates almost inherently corrupt positions, and Behre’s suspension shows what can happen to a qualified candidate who doesn’t play the game. Behre’s experiences should be at the back of every American’s mind when they see bureaucracies emerging.
*Not all law enforcement is appointed or hired; Sheriff is an elected position.