Legal News

Hulk Hogan and Police Officers
What do they have in Common?
By Robert (Bob) Bianchi, Esq.

As a national TV legal analyst, I am often asked to comment on all types of interesting cases. Recently on Fox News, I was asked to comment on a case involving wrestling “legend” Hulk Hogan, and his lawsuit over a “sex tape” that was provided by an anonymous source to the media outlet, Gawker. This tape reveals Hogan having sex, and was recorded without his knowledge in the bedroom of his female counterpart.

Hogan has sued for invasion of his privacy. Gawker is defending the case, citing the very strong protections given the media, under the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Hulk_HoganConstitution.

This case pits two very important constitutional principals at odds with one another, that is, one’s right to privacy, versus the media’s freedom to print “newsworthy” stories.

The premises behind these two constitutional rights is relatively easy, but in a case like this, their opposition to one another is very complex and has very real implications for many people going forward. The people in this trial and their public personas, may be comical to some, but the legal issues at play and their impact on our privacy rights are very real. It is a case worth following.

Essentially, the right to privacy in today’s age has taken a severe beating. With the advent of social media, phone cameras, and news agencies like Gawker that seek to publish scandalous stories, privacy has become very difficult for everyone to maintain. But so too, the right of the media to publish without “editorial supervision” by the government, has been viewed by the courts as an essential tool for a free and democratic society.

The Hogan case is that test case for the courts, and it will have far reaching implications for us all. While sex tape publications are not a novelty, this is the first time it has not been settled and is going to trial. For sure, both sides will argue that they are protected by the Constitution but for different reasons, and under different provisions. Hogan will argue that the surreptitious filming of consenting adults having sex in their bedroom, is a protected privacy right. Gawker will argue that they are protected under the media privilege to publish this material, especially as Hogan is a public figure.

It is true that as a public figure you lose some constitutional protections to privacy under the law, but this case examines just how much privacy a public figure loses. It is also true that in other contexts (like police searches), the courts have held that there is no greater privacy interest than in our homes and bedrooms.

So, how does this affect police officers and other public figures? If Gawker’s defense of this case prevails as a matter of law, then a public official’s privacy rights will have been further minimized, perhaps obliterated. People who illegally invade a public official’s private life (even in the bedroom) will be subjected to having it published, and there will be nothing they can do about it.

In my appearance on Fox News, it was my opinion that the courts need to put a stop to allowing the media to invade a person’s privacy like this. To me, the constitutional underpinnings of the media’s protections were clearly designed by our founding fathers, so that the media was not “chilled” from reporting “newsworthy” stories and democracy was not threatened by muting the press. A person’s sex life in their bedroom does not qualify to be considered essential for democracy if it is not a crime, in my opinion.

I cannot imagine the founding fathers ever contemplated that a person’s sex life in the bedroom was fair game for the media, or that democracy would be adversely affected by not allowing the media to publish a public official’s legal and private sexual encounters.

The media needs to be responsible. While the 1st Amendment is, and should be, jealously guarded in a free society, this does not mean that there are no limitations– especially when that right invades and obliterates another constitutional right, such as our right to privacy.

Some argue any limitation upon the press has a “chilling effect.” But, I feel that allowing this kind of news reporting has a “chilling effect” upon those that may decide against taking a public position, such as a police officer, figuring it is not worth the embarrassment and scrutiny to lose all of their privacy by virtue of their public service.

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Be safe!

Robert A. Bianchi, Esq., served as the Morris County Prosecutor from June 22, 2007 through February 8, 2013. The New Jersey Supreme Court has awarded him the distinction of being a Certified Criminal Trial Attorney, with less than 1% of the attorneys (approximately 250 attorneys) in this State who are so qualified. Mr. Bianchi is a nationally recognized TV Legal Analyist on many networks and regularly appears weekly on Fox News Network.  Contact can be established via links below…

Email: rbianchi@bianchilawgroup.com

Website: www.bianchilawgroup.com

Twitter: @bianchilawgroup

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebianchilawgroup/

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Bianchilawgroup/posts

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/5295242?trk=hp-feed-company-name

 

Remembrance

Sgt. James Ralph Fassnacht
By Joe Uliano

Ralph FassnachtIf we applied a name to the meaning of perseverance, Sgt. James Ralph Fassnacht would be the perfect fit. Sgt. Fassnacht began his law enforcement career as a campus police officer at Montclair State University. While there, he applied to a few larger agencies and was eventually hired by the New Jersey State Police. After performing as an above average recruit, Sgt. Fassnacht broke his leg during week twenty-two at the police academy. As a result of his injury, he was sent home and his dreams were cut short.

However, his perseverance would not allow him to accept that his law enforcement career was over. Due to his commitment to himself and to the law enforcement community, he fought his way back until he was finally hired by the Essex County Police Department. There, he achieved the rank of sergeant, was assigned to the scuba unit and the motor squad. During his time with the motor squad, he would often volunteer his own time, escorting our fallen brothers and sisters to their final resting place. He would also make a point to visit local schools during his lunch breaks, where children could sit on his motorcycle, while he preached to them about staying in school and making something out of their lives.

Unfortunately, Sgt. Fassnacht’s commitment to his profession and the community would tragically end on July 6, 1993, during an on-duty scuba accident in Weequahic Park. At just forty-one-years old, Sgt. Fassnacht was survived by his wife Ellen and their three sons.

In a recent conversation with Ellen, she described her husband as an officer who performed community policing before the concept was heard of or practiced. “He loved police work and loved helping people in need,” Ellen said. “He was a wonderful husband, a wonderful father, a wonderful police officer, that was taken away from us too soon.” May Sgt. Fassnacht continue to rest in peace.

May his life and his service to others never be forgotten!

Wellness

Are you always connected or always distracted?
By Melinda Inzani

In our world today, electronic devices connect us to the Internet, emails, text messages, entertainment, and so much more. Juggling multiple streams of media for parents has become the norm. Whether it is checking soccer schedules for children, answering work emails or answering the phone for your significant other, parents can become distracted.

Can you remember a time while at the park with your children, when half of the parents were not on their electronic devices? Few things require more hands-on attention than young children, but are we able to provide it, with constant text messages, Facebook alerts, and phone calls? Are parents today providing the high level of attention that is needed for children? The world is changing, but what is the impact on distracted parenting for our children?

According to research, compulsive cell phone use has been linked to a history of motor vehicle crashes. In addition, emergency room doctors are beginning to see an increase in injury rates for young children. In a few extreme cases, near drowning and death have also been consequences. One of the many plausible explanations for the surprising increase in injuries for young children is the growing use of hand-held electronic devices.

Electronic devices may be changing the way we parent. For instance, new mothers may text or play a game on their phone while breast-feeding, instead of connecting with their newborn. Parents’ reliable and consistent attention is a core component to form proper emotional processes for children. Research has shown that face-to-face interaction is one of the primary ways children learn. If there is a break within the interaction, such as an email alert, the parent’s attention is diverted and the pattern is broken, and crucial learning may not occur.

Distracted parenting may be more prevalent that we think. Psychologists have expressed concern, specifically over emotional connectivity and language development. Every child has different emotional needs; therefore, distracted parenting can affect each child differently. Some may have difficulty building and maintaining social bonds; some children may even feel neglected, and begin to lose an emotional connection to their parent(s) over time. This is a concern; because within time, this may lead to adolescent isolating themselves from their parent(s), emotional outbursts, social isolation, and possibly even depression or anxiety.

Studies have cited that nearly one third of children feel unimportant when their parents become distracted by their cell phones during meal times, conversations, and television. Some parents agreed with their children’s observation of the need to compete with technology.

Similarly, parents who are overly absorbed in their devices are more likely to respond harshly to a child misbehaving. Research has connected parents who answer emails, texts, or alerts with a sense of urgency and pressure to get the task accomplished. Therefore, when a child misbehaves or interrupts, the parent is much more irritable. New research is providing data that supports our inability to connect with others due to our constant addiction to electronic devices.

At the end of the day, parents are in high demand–work obligations, social connections, spouses and family pressures are a reality for many parents. We only get one chance to raise our children, and the time passes by so quickly. What are we missing; what can we not afford to miss; and most of all, how do we keep it all in balance? One way, is sharing an uninterrupted family meal. Family meals are connected to the health of all family members, as well as for the spirit and brain. Studies link regular family dinners to lower rates of eating disorders in adolescents, substance abuse, obesity, teen pregnancy, depression, higher grade point averages and self-esteem. Give one hour a day to connect with your undivided attention and no electronic devices. It’s time to put family first, think twice before picking up an electronic device when you’re with your children.

Melinda Inzani is a clinical social worker who has worked with multiple populations. She has authored numerous articles, provided training, and has consulted and lectured all over the United States. Melinda has built a successful practice in Midland Park, New Jersey. She is also a professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She is dedicated to the communities she serves and has volunteered her time to several outreach organizations. For more information contact Melinda Inzani, LLC at 201-704-6749.

 

Cover Story

Exclusive Interview with Brian Mast
Never Give up
By George Beck

Sept. 19, 2010, changed Brian Mast’s life forever. Mast, an Army Explosives, Ordinance and Demolition (EOD) bomb technician under special operations, flew into Afghanistan’s Kandahar province in a swarm of helicopters and took heavy enemy fire while landing. It was a dark night and many of the rounds missed.

Mast led his men through the darkness. As part of Task Force Merrill, they were out to neutralize a high-value target.

They were close to the high-value target when Mast halted his men. He wanted to make sure the land was clear before his men advanced. Searching the suspicious terrain, he looked for tripwires, batteries or signs of disturbed earth, and in a flash he was struck by an IED.  The explosion threw Mast into the air; he landed a few yards away plastered in soot and dirt. His eyes covered with mud, he could barely see. And so he could not see his own condition. The blast had taken away his breath. He was coughing for air.

Then, in his earpiece, he heard one of his men, “EOD was hit.” That was the moment he realized the danger he was in. He was the one everyone was rushing to. His last recollection is of his men wrenching tourniquets on his legs and arm, followed by them loading him onto a chopper and rendering him one last salute, before the abyss drew him in. Days later, he awoke in a hospital bed. It was September 25th at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Shadowy figures above him in a circle began to resolve into human faces.
“Brian, you can’t let this keep you down,” a voice said. “You have to find a way to pull yourself up.”

Mast squinted in the direction of the voice. It sounded familiar. Then he smiled. It was his father. Then he looked around and saw his family surrounding his hospital bed. Then he looked at himself, at what had remained. Losing five days of consciousness was the least of it. He had lost both his legs slightly above the knees, part of his left forearm, and his left index finger. But the love and support he got that day from his family, turned whatever shock and dismay he might have felt into a vow that he would never allow his condition to define his future. He determined that his best days were ahead of him, not behind, and regardless of the challenges he was going to do great things for his family and for his country.

Currently featured on the History Channel’s “Live to Tell” series, Mast tells his story of heroism, and in this exclusive interview offers his views on life, the military, and law enforcement. Since awakening in the hospital, Mast’s life has been blessed with the birth of a third child, a Harvard education, volunteer work with the Israel Defense Forces at the Sar-El Army base, and a candidacy for the United States Congress, among other impressive accomplishments. We salute Mast for his heroism, bravery, and commitment to never give up! His resolve is as impressive as it is inspiring.

NJ Blue Now: Tell our readers about yourself, what is something nobody knows about?
Every morning I wake up with a song in my head. Usually a country song. This morning it was Johnny Cash, “When the man comes around.”

Why did you join the Army?
I always wanted to serve my country, I always liked to shoot, hunt, camp, and when I graduated high school I couldn’t wait to enlist.

When you were wounded in Afghanistan, did you think you were finished? Was there a moment you thought you would die?
It all happened very quickly. I recently did a show with the History Channel on the night I was injured and the guys I was with all said I was very calm. I did not think about dying specifically, but I was thinking in that moment about my wife and my son and how I did not want to leave them, I could not leave them.

What was that moment like when you were lying there? What flashed in your mind?
The moment was very painful. The wind was knocked out of me. My teeth felt as though they had been rattled loose, and I was experiencing the pain of my guys ratcheting down tourniquets on my legs and arm in order to save me. But again I was thinking about my family mostly.

What do you believe is the difference between people who pull themselves up and those who don’t?
I was able to pull myself up. Part of it was a great example. When my father first saw me in the hospital he told me, “Brian you can’t let this keep you down. You have to find a way to pull yourself up, get back out there and back to work. You can’t let your kids see you sitting on your butt regardless of what happened because they will think it is an okay way to go through life.”

I was fortunate I had a wife who loved me and friends who cared and a country who told me they were proud, it made all the difference. But I also had people kick me in the butt and remind me the tragedy we face does not matter at all compared to what we do in response to the tragedy we face. We need to be challenged and challenge each other and not give each other any excuse not to push on. We have to remind each other excuses will never make us great. We can all find an excuse to quit, but what we really need is to use challenges as an excuse to be strong. We can all do it.

Was there a time when you ever thought that life was too difficult in your situation?
Never. It was the next challenge and I was going to be damned if this challenge, the most important of my life, was going to beat me. The loss of both legs was the greatest opportunity ever given to me to inspire others to never quit, to never curl up into a corner, but rather give tough times a size 12 in the backside. And now what was hard at first is just normal and not hard. We all face the same two disabilities in life I believe: having the courage to do something even though we may fail, and having the determination and will to do everything we can to make sure we do not fail at what we want to achieve.

Also, my time since being wounded has shown me the voice I can have on behalf of our veterans, and in showing people challenges do not destroy us or define us, they make us who we are and if we let them, they can be the tools that make us the strongest we have ever been. I think that is what America needs today, people who will say we don’t make excuses, we find a way, we claw our way through adversity, that is our heritage as a nation.

Does Post-Traumatic Stress affect you?
Not at all. I could not be more at peace with everything I did on the battlefield and everything that happened to me on the battlefield. I would do it all again in a second. Our country and our people are worth my last breath and the last beat of my heart, and whenever I go I will hope it is in a pile of brass on some battlefield, defending our country.

Are many of the criticisms about the VA and the treatment of wounded warriors justified?
No. Two VAs I have been to are exactly the same, but documented accounts of the VA prove treatments often are not where they need to be. The VA is a large federal bureaucracy and they do not have to fight for the dollars of veterans they care for. This is not the best model for superior care. One example is when I recently needed a new cane. First I was told to go get a script from my primary care provider, then he told me I had to go see physical therapy to get a cane, then physical therapy told me I had to take a one-hour class on how to use a cane. I use a cane every day and do not need a class so I went and bought my own after telling them very descriptively about how I felt about them wasting my time.

What do you make of all the negative sentiment against law enforcement?
Law enforcement walk out the door each day the same way each soldier does: with the knowledge they may not come home to their family, and with the willingness to place themselves between danger and any person needing help. That is the definition of selfless. I believe our police are the same as our soldiers; we never enter the fray in defense of only some people. We defend every American regardless of color, race, gender or anything else.

How serious is the Jihadi threat against police in this country?
It is very serious. Terrorists want to make U.S. towns and streets their new battlefield. This means police need to be prepared to face an enemy that is utilizing the tactics used for the last 15 years against our military in Iraq and Afghanistan. And what is scarier is that this enemy has the availability of soft targets that are endless in number.

Are our political leaders blind to the true threat?
Many of our political leaders are the threat. Ideologically, there are too many leaders who fail to apply the same traits to leadership, that they would want their own children to be defined by. No one would ever want their children in debt or to live beyond their means, so why then would any leader feel our country could sustain such debt? When our leaders do not support free markets and competition they are hurting us. And when our leaders do not do everything they can to draw the best out of Americans then they are not really leading. Leaders inspire, they make the impossible, possible, and they do not create nanny states and try to tell us mediocrity is okay. This is the real world, and not everyone gets a trophy.

What do you make of President Obama’s lack of participation at military and police funerals, especially his lack of response during a week that seven police officers lost their lives?
I believe it is a fact for most people that we find a way to make time for the things we care about. President Obama’s silence and absence from standing tall alongside law enforcement is his position. He does not care about law enforcement officers or the law. It was always a favorite passage of scripture for me that says, “we will know a tree by the fruit it bears.” And President Obama is not bearing the fruit of one who recognizes and appreciates the sacrifice of those who defend our country and our streets.

What is your definition of brotherhood and how it relates to race, gender, and religion when on the battlefield?
Brotherhood knows no race or gender. It is selfless and knows only the ethos by which it will make a stand. We who serve live by a warrior ethos, which is something unfortunately President Obama never learned. We always place the mission first. We never accept defeat. We never quit. We never leave a fallen comrade.

Why do you want to run for Congress?
When I left the Army, I knew that I would soon run for Congress. I remember telling my wife when I was first injured, that I don’t know how to go through life and have the best I have given our country be in my past. Despite injury I will make sure the best defense I give our homeland is still ahead. Service to America is something that is inside me. I cannot turn it on or off like a light, it will always be part of who I am, and that did not end for me when I took off a uniform.

I will be the example in Congress that every fallen American soldier has been for me. That we serve for our people, without regard for gain and without regard for sacrifice. The cost to maintain America as the exemplar of freedom will remain great but it will always be worth the sacrifice. And any who are not willing to endure the sacrifice have no place alongside those willing to sacrifice all for our country. I am also running for Congress to make sure I defend this country every day from threats internal and external.

How will your military and life experience serve Congress and the American people?
The military taught me three very important lessons. (1) Great leaders never ask their men to do something they would not do themselves, (2) The decisions I make have very real consequences for the people I serve, and (3) if you choose to serve America in any capacity then there is only one way to do it: without regard for gain or sacrifice.

These principles will guide my decisions as a member of Congress.

Why did you volunteer with the IDF, and what did you learn from them?
I volunteered to serve alongside the IDF because I believe in showing support for what I believe in with the work of my hands. Talk is cheap. I will always make sure people know where my passion is by where I leave my blood, sweat and tears. I learned firsthand that U.S. and Israel are brothers in the hope we offer. We both offer freedom, opportunity, a democratic system, human rights for all regardless of belief, and a system that unleashes the individual will of man, not stifle it. We are brothers in that we will not look at evil and do nothing. As Americans we must ask ourselves what country in the Middle East we would want the rest of the Middle East to look like. Our answer surely could not be Libya, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia. As Americans we could only possibly want the Middle East to look like Israel. As a result, I believe we must support fully the most peaceful country in the region, Israel, in order to establish peace in the region.

Is there anything else beyond political pursuits that you’d like to accomplish in your lifetime?
It is not political that I pursue office. It is a continuation of the service I have already gladly given our country. I will strive every day to make sure the best defense I give our country is always ahead of me, whether my battlefield is a far off land or Washington, D.C.

Lighter side questions:

What is your favorite movie?
Patton

Favorite baseball team?
Tigers

Favorite football team?
Lions

Favorite actor or actress?
Bruce Willis

What is your strongest quality?
I will always believe my country is more important than me.
Weakest?
I hold a grudge.

Favorite president?
George Washington. He crossed a the frozen Delaware River, in the dead of
night, in order to defeat our enemies!

Pet peeve?
Giving up

georgebeckGeorge Beck is a police detective, writer and a Drew University Ph.D. candidate.
He’s
earned several degrees including an associate’s, bachelor’s and two master’s
degrees. He
is the author of The Killer Among Us (Noir Nation Books) and several
other books. His
nonfiction and short stories have been featured in magazines and
anthologies nationally
and internationally.

 

Inside Perspective

Flipping COIN: Using Counterinsurgency to Police Hostile Communities
By Keith Bott

Police officers across the country have recently experienced a significant rise in anti-police sentiment due to several well-publicized events, such as those involving Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and Eric Garner. As a result, police-community relations are so tense in many areas that routine police-citizen interaction often become antagonistic or downright hostile. Although the underlying reasons for anti-police sentiment can vary from place to place, it is no secret that many communities simply do not trust the police. What can law enforcement agencies do in these high conflict areas to police effectively? One novice approach is derived from counterinsurgency (COIN) techniques developed by the U.S. military.

Before discussing policing techniques inspired by COIN, it is important to briefly review the aspects of insurgencies and counterinsurgencies. First, insurgencies are unconventional by their very nature. Conventional war usually takes place between the legitimate militaries of sovereign nations. Conventional forces are typically equipped and organized in a similar fashion, and they often engage one another in large-scale pitched battles like those seen during World War II and Korea. Insurgent warfare is different from conventional war because insurgencies are waged by non-state actors who lack relative combat, political, and economic power. Because the insurgents lack power, they are forced to fight using unconventional or non-standard tactics. Insurgents seek to change the political environment, topple the existing government and assume power for themselves. As such, insurgents are often described as waging revolutionary war. This type of warfare can also be referred to as asymmetric, limited or guerrilla war because of the tactics that are employed. Moreover, all insurgencies need the support of the local population in order to carry out their operations. This support can either be active or passive, but without it, the insurgents become extremely susceptible to the conventional forces they are fighting.

Counterinsurgency, or COIN, simply refers to the government’s efforts to defeat the insurgency. Similar to the way insurgents need the support of the local population, COIN operations also seek to secure the backing of the people. In order to build popular support, COIN theory calls for conventional forces to do a whole host of different things other than kick down doors and kill suspected enemy combatants. Examples might include, building schools, establishing a legitimate banking system, or paving roads. These non-traditional military operations serve as a way for service members to establish relationships with the local people. These relationships, in turn, eventually lead to intelligence. In fact, the single most critical aspect of COIN operations is the counterinsurgent’s ability to gather accurate and timely intelligence. COIN practitioners then use this intelligence to accurately target the insurgents and destroy them with conventional firepower. Intelligence drives conventional operations in COIN.

COIN inspired policing is most applicable to hostile communities with significant gang problems. The most clear cut example of its effectiveness can be seen in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the efforts of Massachusetts State Trooper Michael Cutone. After returning from an overseas deployment to Iraq, Trooper Cutone began to implement COIN techniques in the North End or “Brightwood” section of Springfield. At the time, the North End was overrun by gangs and official reports noted that gang members were freely riding around on mini-scooters with SKS [Soviet semi-automatic carbine] rifles slung over their backs. In addition, police-community relations were tense and most residents did not trust local law enforcement. Identifying the similarities between gangs and insurgents, Trooper Cutone developed a COIN based strategy that he called Counter Criminal Continuum Policing or C3 Policing. The guiding principles of C3, adapted from the U.S. Army field manual, are as follows:

1. Legitimacy is crucial to achieving our goals
2. You must understand the environment
3. Unity-of-effort is essential
4. Intelligence drives operations
5. Prepare for a long-term commitment
6. Local factors are primary
7. Security under the rule of law is essential
8. Gangs must be separated from their cause and support

In practice, the C3 model called for the police to establish relationships with the local residents in order to gather accurate intelligence about active gang members. Those gang members were then targeted for arrest.

To gain popular local support, Trooper Cutone and his colleagues began to knock on doors and speak with residents who were distrustful of the police. He also began holding a weekly meeting with local leaders and other concerned citizens to discuss community specific problems. As Trooper Cutone and his team progressed, they began to gain allies within the community. More importantly, they also began to receive useful intelligence, which they used to focus on specific gang members. To date, the C3 team has severely curtailed gang activity in the North End and overall crime statistics are trending in a positive direction.

COIN inspired policing should not be confused with community policing. Numerous academic studies have detailed the fact that community policing is often poorly implemented, which typically renders it ineffective and useless. COIN inspired policing attempts to gain the support of the local population with the explicit goal of developing intelligence. That intelligence can then be used to target criminals for arrest. This approach better allows the police to fight crime without ostracizing law-abiding citizens.

Keith H. Bott is currently a municipal police officer in Bergen County, NJ Prior to entering law enforcement, he served seven years in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer. His military awards include the Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Bronze Star. Keith holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and a M.A. in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Up Close

NARCAN AND BEYOND
By PO Valerie Stetz (Ret.)

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato learned two invaluable lessons from his grandfather and parents at a young age: a positive work ethic, and the importance of an education, respectively. This led him to become the first in his family to graduate with a civil engineering degree from Upsala College. However, Coronato’s pursuit for a higher education had not ceased; the educational value he’d acquired from his family had been ingrained.

His next endeavor entailed attendance at North Carolina Central University Law School in Durham, where he received his Juris Doctor in May 1975; was admitted to the NJ Bar; and the U.S. District Court. After his commencement, he gained experience as a law clerk for then Passaic County Criminal Court, Judge Salerno. It appeared the young barrister was destined for greatness when many doors began opening for him the following year.

Coronato’s grand accomplishments consisted of being Deputy Attorney General with the Division of Criminal Justice, Special Prosecutions/Organized Crime Unit; admission to the Washington, D.C. bar in 1979; prosecuting major crime and trial cases for the Atlantic County Prosecutors Office; and private practice between 1984-2013. During his firm’s establishment, further accolades included the U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit followed in 1985; and practice in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991.

Yet, above all Coronato’s successes, was his lifelong dream of holding the Ocean County Prosecutor position. It was no surprise when March 22, 2013, brought this to fruition, and two weeks later, Prosecutor Coronato felt driven to develop an idea after being disturbed about eight drug-related deaths in a nine-day period.

Coronato dove in full force to acquire towns’ stats, researching all possible avenues which led him to uncover a spray called Narcan (naloxone), an opiate reversal. A meeting educating all department Chiefs on Narcan ensued, and with it came the development of policies and procedures, along with the training of officers in 33 departments, and the State Police. Radio cars in Ocean, as well as other counties were then equipped with Narcan.

In 2013, Ocean County had 122 deaths, but from April 2014 to December 2014, the collaborated mission to help save lives through the Narcan program led to 129 Narcan overdose reversals. This number continued to drop, and in 2015, the final count was 95. At present, 10 people have died as a result of opioid overdose.

However, Coronato’s idea did not end with the police departments footing the bill for Narcan. He believed the responsibility lay on medical providers. A meeting between Coronato and Meridian and Barnabas Health Care Centers followed, with the latter agreeing to fund Narcan for the county.

Prosecutor Coronato then focused on helping save more lives, understanding that Narcan saves the life without addressing the addiction. The concept for a voluntary Narcan-2 “Recovery Coach Program,” which would serve in keeping addicts clean to recover was developed. Narcan-2 connects heroin and opioid overdose victims who have been revived with the opioid reversal drug Narcan, with treatment options once they’re stabilized.

The program matches a would’ve-been overdosed victim with a recovery coach for an eight-week period, if the addict is a willing participant. In addition to the assistance of hospital personnel in the Ocean County area, free or subsidized treatment is also available.

Two weeks into the Narcan-2 pro-gram, Prosecutor Coronato reported the preliminary results are promising. Law enforcement and health care professionals will continue to work together to battle the opioid abuse and overdose problem as Coronato continues to explore all avenues to continue to save lives. I commend him for all he has done, and all he is currently doing, and will do to ensure Ocean County families do not have an empty seat at the holiday dinner table.

Valerie A. Stetz (Velazquez) retired on accidental disability from the Jersey City Police Dept. She was injured in a radio car accident responding to a robbery in progress call. Valerie is a member of the NJ Police Honor Legion. She is the radio host for the popular Internet show “Your World Uncensored” on DDV RADIO. She also serves as the Regional Manager for Public Safety United. Valerie is married, with a son and daughter.

Leadership

The Challenges of Leading While Under Attack
By Brian Weitzman

It seems as though not a single day can pass without us being forced to shake our heads at the idiocy that exists in all that surrounds us. The anti-police rhetoric is consistently thrown at us from a wide array of sources. Such rhetoric is infuriating and it is a constant threat to our moral and ethical characters. How can we fight back against hostility and negativity, all while still pursuing the day-to-day leadership roles we pursue in our communities?

Why has it become such a common, mainstream ideology to attack us? Each and every day I carefully read news articles from a wide variety of news networks and social media outlets and continually find anti-cop hate speech. Why is it socially acceptable to bash those of us that walk the thin blue line? After all, we are the ones that are sworn to uphold the laws of the land and protect the civil liberties of the people that occupy the neighborhoods we serve.

I firmly believe there is a strong and unambiguous question to ask the anti-cop establishment… What exactly is it that you are trying to achieve? It would not shock me if the majority of the establishment didn’t have a concrete answer. Do they want to abolish law enforcement all together? Do they want law enforcement to be strictly reactive and only show a presence when called upon? Metaphorically speaking, should we trademark a symbol to shine in the sky when danger lurks in the shadows? To a vast array of people and especially to children, we are heroes, but can we be heroes if we don’t show our presence in the light of day and prevent heinous crimes before they are committed?

With the wide array of appalling heroin pushers that destroy families and communities, what would the establishment like us to do? Close our eyes? Eliminate surveillance operations and search warrants? Pretend that there is not a prescription drug and heroin epidemic among us? Many times, the law enforcement community gets the blame for failures that exist in the criminal justice system. However, we don’t make the laws and we don’t break the laws, we simply make daily attempts at enforcing the laws. We are not defense attorneys, prosecutors or judges; we are simply the middle men between the suspects and the courts, yet we are the scapegoats for all that may go wrong in the criminal justice world and therefore the sole targets of the anti-cop community.

Let’s reflect on some recent events in popular culture. How can we idly sit back and watch as Beyoncé perverts the Super Bowl Halftime Show by belittling law enforcement? Even more alarming is that the NFL allowed her to perform a hate-filled anti-cop performance. Much like law enforcement, the NFL is based on teamwork; working alongside teammates of any race to fulfill a common goal and present to today’s youth the power of unity. That wasn’t the message Beyoncé presented.

Meanwhile at a South Carolina debate, Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton, mocked law enforcement by claiming there is “systemic racism.” Why is it fair for them to say that all police are racist? Do they want children to hate us and/or be afraid of us? Why? They clearly don’t look at proven statistics to see that the rancid messages they postulate are divisive. They may as well say that every precinct and every jail has a demon at the main desk! Yet, is every cop a good-hearted, unbiased cop? No, but the overwhelmingly majority of us are.

And the pandering to false movements continued. “We need fundamental police reform,” Senator Sanders recently said, adding he’s “sick and tired” of seeing unarmed black people shot by the police. He likened heavily equipped police departments to “occupying armies.” Clearly Senator Sanders is pandering to those lusting to destroy law enforcement. He has the nerve to act as though we go to work every day and want nothing more than to harm people. It is sickening when he and the like believe our way of dress and the equipment we possess hurts people. I, like many of you, am tired of this “I’m offended by everything” generation. When did this country start believing that being soft is right and tough is wrong?

While Senator Sanders, Secretary Clinton, Beyoncé and others continue to bash us, our brothers in blue continue to die on-the-job every day. We are being killed as if it is hunting season on us and there is not a peep from President Obama regarding these atrocities to boot. Perhaps the truth doesn’t fit into their personal agendas and irresponsible invective. Let us prove these villains wrong. We must lead while under attack and maintain our epitome of honor.

Brian Weitzman, BA, MS is a Detective at the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office. He is currently assigned to the Fugitive Warrant Squad. He is a Squad Leader for the Passaic County SWAT Team. Det. Weitzman is an adjunct professor at William Paterson University and a member of the NJ Honor Legion.