Dozens of East Orange police officers call out ‘sick’ amid contract dispute

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EAST ORANGE, N.J. – The city says they’ve met twice with police unions and they’re close to making progress but maybe not after Friday’s stunt.

PIX11 acquired the sick call list from the East Orange police department showing more than 75 officers have called out sick for their Friday shift. That’s according to a number of officers on the force who wish to remain anonymous.

They say this comes after stalled contract negotiations among the city and their police unions.

 Sheilah Coley, director of public safety for East Orange, would not admit more than a quarter of the force that called out sick.

She says the mayor is trying to do what’s right for the tax payers.

“We have every shift covered in our city is it in no danger we don’t even have a backlog of calls for service,” Coley said.

According to officers, more than a quarter of the force has called in sick and were ordered by internal affairs to have doctors notes after the first day. It’s usually required after the 3rd day sick leave.

“That could hurt the city and it could hurt the officers because by their very oath, they do not have the right to call out sick until contract negotiations are finalized, they don’t have the right to jeopardize the citizens of the city,” Cooley said. “They don’t have the right not to come to work and fake an illness.”

Many people at City Hall think the police force is trying to send the mayor a message. But the message from city hall is that this tactic won’t work.

Dozens of East Orange police officers call out ‘sick’ amid contract dispute