Thursday, July 24, 2014

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Officer Files Suit Against City of Hackensack

Officer Moise Flanagan has filed a lawsuit against the City of Hackensack and Police Director Michael Mordaga alleging retaliation and infliction of emotional distress.

In his complaint, Flanagan alleges that he has been retaliated against because of his cooperation in an investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.  This cooperation, Flanagan says assisted in securing convictions against three officers.  One of said officers is Alberto Guitierrez who Flanagan says repeatedly attempted to influence Flanagan's testimony.  It is reported, however, that when asked by the Prosecutor's Office what Guitierrez said, Flanagan testified it was to "tell the truth."

Offering a motivation for Mordaga's alleged retaliation, Flanagan states in his complaint that Police Director Mordaga "is the godfather to Officer Alberto Guitierrez's son, who is also a Police Officer in the Hackensack Police Department."

In Flanagan's suit, he alleges that as retaliation he has been placed on a walking post, had his shifts reassigned, was prevented from becoming active in youth programs, and was the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation for his attendance at another officer's barbecue.

In an apparent new trend of council members being named in lawsuits as adverse witnesses to the City of Hackensack, Councilman Sims allegedly told Flanagan, "Look, be careful man, you're being watched."

Flanagan seeks compensatory and punitive damages for his unspecified loss of income, emotional distress, and physical manifestations of pain and suffering.

Director Mordaga declined to comment as he had yet to receive and read the complaint.  Officer Guitierrez likewise declined to comment on the substance of the complaint or on matters pertaining to the Police Department.  Guitierrez did however deny that Mordaga is the godfather of any of his children.  PBA President Frank Cavallo said, "The PBA is obligated to our members and I have not read the allegations made.  It would be improper of the PBA to comment on pending litigation but the members of the PBA continue to work with the Police Director and serve the residents and business owners of Hackensack."

Due to departmental regulations, no officer wished to be quoted for this story.  However, in discussions for this story, a number of stories and potential explanations for Flanagan's transfers, reassignments, and the Internal Affairs investigation did surface.  With regard to the Internal Affairs investigation over Flanagan's attendance at a barbecue, it is alleged that Flanagan attended this barbecue after calling out sick for his shift.  Flanagan's reassignments and transfers may have been a proximate result of Flanagan's allegedly totaling two police cars (in single car accidents), allegedly losing his police badge, or allegedly leaving his loaded service weapon in a bathroom.  It is further alleged that this weapon was returned to the police desk by a civilian.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hackensack Rotary and HPD join forces to help local homeless

In keeping with the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self,” the Hackensack Rotary Club has partnered with the Hackensack Police Department in their Quality of Life Initiative Program.

In an effort to ensure the safety and well being of the local homeless, the Hackensack Rotary Club has donated fruit and bottled water to the Hackensack Police Department.  Officers will be patrolling known areas where the homeless gather and distributing fruit and bottled water to those in need throughout the summer months.

The police department will also transport those with special needs to the Bergen County Health and Human Services Center.  The center’s director, Julia Orlando, has worked closely with Director Mordaga in an on-going effort to maintain a close tie between the Center and the City of Hackensack.  The Hackensack Police, Hackensack Rotary and the Bergen County Health and Human Services Center are equally committed and dedicated to providing assistance to those in need.

Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders.  Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.  There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.  The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.  Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to contact Richard Gelber @ phone: 201-343-5600 or email:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hackensack and Teaneck Rotary Clubs join forces to feed those in need

This weekend, the Hackensack and Teaneck Rotary Clubs joined together to feed those in need at the Christ Church on State Street.

Last year, club Presidents Sharon Bregman and Kathy Frost saw a great need in the community and joined forces to build on what was historically a once annual project of the Hackensack Rotary.

The Rotary Clubs have partnered with program coordinator Judy Banes of the On Our Own Self Help Center (179 Main Street) to spread the word to those in need and make this a successful project.