Veteran Officer Suspended For Whistleblowing? - FOX 35 News Orlando

Veteran Officer Suspended For Whistleblowing?

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North Plainfield, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

Attorney Charles Sciarra says his client, Officer Mark Messinger, a 23 year veteran and PBA representative of the North Plainfield Police Department has been retaliated against for blowing the whistle on illegal and unethical practices within his police department.

Messinger has been on paid suspension since March of 2012. Meanwhile, North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti, who Messinger accused of falsifying documents to further his son’s career and allowing illegal arrest and ticket quotas, remains unscathed.

“I’m talking about someone who’s working in the state of New Jersey, in an organization that engages in corrupt practices and takes a stand, we need those people,” Sciarra said.

Documentation issued to the police training commission shows the chief did, in fact, wrongfully sign off on his son’s admittance to the police academy. He signed a recruit card swearing his son was a class 1 full-time officer when he was in fact a class 2 special duties officer and therefore not eligible for the full time academy.

Eventually, Parenti Jr. was removed from the full-time academy, but went on to a neighboring academy and became a full time police officer in North Plainfield, working for his dad, Chief Parenti.

Parenti confirms that he has been cleared of all wrongdoing in that case and a recent NJ.com article states that the attorney general’s office found that chief Parenti signed the wrong police training card, but did “nothing wrong”. Information that has not yet been confirmed or denied by the AG’s office.

But that’s not the end of Messinger’s allegations. Sciarra says his client also has issues with the department’s enforcement of illegal arrest and ticket quotas within the department. A letter from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office actually lists Messinger’s “belief” that the department enforces quotas and advises officers to profile suspects as some of the facts that “could substantiate” a psychological evaluation”.

Messinger was in fact evaluated by a psychologist hired by the North Plainfield police department who determined that Messinger was unfit for duty. The chief said that in cases like this, if someone had a psychological issue then they could be a threat to the public, so he couldn’t have them on the streets.

This chain of events leading to Messinger’s suspension was suspicious to some. In April 2012, a representative of the policeman’s union wrote to the attorney general, calling Messinger’s suspension “disturbing” in light of his complaints he brought against Chief William Parenti.

Now, over a year after the psychologist examined Messinger, the details of the mental evaluation has come out in a series of two public hearings related to the officer’s suspension.

Within the hearings, the therapist found Messinger unfit based on some narcissistic personality traits determined by subjective multiple-choice personality inventory tests and seemingly unrelated events from officer Messinger's personal life.

Meanwhile, Messinger’s attorney said he’s waited months for the county to re-schedule what was supposed to be the third and final public hearing on Messinger’s suspension. He says if it doesn’t get resolved in due time, he’ll bring up a whistleblower lawsuit on Messinger’s behalf.

“We need Mark Messinger out there. The last line of defense against corruption is the employees that put their foot down and say--I’m not going for it,” Sciarra said.

As for the chief’s son, he joined the North Plainfield police force in January of this year. He was charged with a DWI in May but he was not suspended and remains on the force.


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