Until this week, the only people who really hated the Jersey Guys were corrupt politicians. Now, corrupt state troopers hate them, too.
Craig Carton and Ray Rossi walked out in the middle of their popular afternoon talk radio show and took their families into hiding after learning of a press conference in which New Jersey state police union leader David Jones gave out their home addresses and threatened to “crush” the people who leaked anonymous Internet postings by state troopers in which they apparently were plotting a ticket-writing blitz.
The duo are no strangers to controversy. Their show is broadcast statewide in New Jersey on WKXW New Jersey 101.5 FM from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and is one of the most listened to local talk shows in the country. Since 2002, the Jersey Guys have focused mainly on local and state politics, even going so far as to form the Coalition Against Corrupt Politicians and accepting anonymous tips about “politicians taking part in despicable acts such as bribery, fraud, pension padding, nepotism, cronyism and other mischievous acts.”
They sound like my kind of guys already.
On Tuesday, they reported on their show about anonymous postings in a password-protected area of the State Troopers Fraternal Association Web site in which troopers planned to “Crush in May and Cruise in June.” According to the postings, troopers would step up ticket writing efforts during the month of May, to “absolutely hammer everyone (obviously except cops and family) who does 1 m.p.h. over the limit,” according to one such posting, and in June, to establish rolling roadblocks along New Jersey highways to disrupt traffic flow.
“I am all for the May 1st blitz — Better start pre-signing my summonses,” wrote another poster going by the handle of “reckrids.’
“Everyone has to take part in this,” wrote “20alphabravo.’ “We are taking an absolute beating from the public and media, and the so-called “officers’ are doing nothing about it to protect or support us in any way. — May 1st. Spread the word. It’s go time.”
State Police Superintendent Col. Joseph “Rick” Fuentes took the postings seriously enough to order commanders to try to make sure troopers don’t launch the ticket storm. “He made it clear to the command staff, what is posted there he won’t tolerate,” said Capt. Al Della Fave, spokesman for the patrol. — Gannett Newspapers
The troopers are apparently upset that their public image is in decline after last month’s accident involving New Jersey governor Jon S. Corzine in which the trooper driving him was speeding on the New Jersey Turnpike at 91 m.p.h. and allegedly reading a text message on his cell phone at the time of the accident, in which Corzine was seriously injured. Corzine, who paid a $46 fine for failing to wear his seat belt, has since been released from the hospital and is recuperating at the governor’s mansion.
In his press conference Thursday, Jones said that motorists had been more confrontational at traffic stops since May 1 and denied that a ticket-writing campaign was occurring.
“I’m going to release the names and addresses of these people and then their sponsors, and all of the car dealerships and everybody else that sponsors that show is going to have to deal with the reality that they’re putting public servants and the public in general in harm’s way, and I’m going to make sure that everybody knows, until they get their act together, who these people are, where they live, what they do and how it is that they’re misleading the public and creating this furor,” Jones said. . . .
In a statement, Carton said, “My safety and more importantly the safety of my family is paramount to me, and I can not and will not allow them to be put in harm’s way because of the misguided rantings of a powerful police figure.”
In an interview, Jones said, “I don’t believe in intimidating anyone.”
Jones said he did not know who floated the idea of a ticket-writing campaign on the union Web site but believes he knows who leaked the information. He said it didn’t matter if police were threatening to go on a ticket-writing campaign.
“If guys, be they troopers or not troopers, choose to vent on a blog board, that’s their right, and that’s a board that’s supposed to be shared,” Jones said. “A couple of cowards obviously compromised it, and when I find out who those Girl Scouts are I’m going to crush ’em like bugs.” — Gannett Newspapers
That’s not intimidating?
The state police brass are having none of it, distancing themselves from Jones and promising an investigation into whether he broke any laws during the press conference.
State Police spokesman Capt. Al Della Fave said officials are attempting to get a recording of Jones’ news conference. He emphasized Jones was speaking in his capacity as union head, not as a state trooper.
“We have already alerted the Attorney General’s Office that we’re going to be asking them their legal opinion as regards to Davy Jones in his capacity as union president and rules and regulations that apply to the State Police,” he said.
A top executive of Millenium Radio New Jersey, owners of 101.5, also requested a formal review of Jones’ actions.
“This form of intimidation and extortion is reprehensible,” said a statement from Andrew J. Santoro, Millenium’s chief operating officer. “We are requesting a full investigation from the New Jersey State Police and the Attorney General’s office regarding this serious abuse of power.” — Newark Star-Ledger
Just before Thursday’s press conference, Bob Ingle, Gannett’s Trenton bureau chief, wrote a blog entry in which he said that the New Jersey state police was “one of the best state police agencies in the country.” I can hardly imagine what the worst might look like.
Update: The Jersey Guys have returned to the airwaves Friday afternoon. At 5 p.m., Col. Rick Fuentes met with Jones and asked him not to release any personal information for New Jersey 101.5 personalities. Jones agreed to comply with the request, according to a state police news release.
(News tip sent in by Aaron)