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Military Leave Cops Reinstated, Police Chief Retires

Residents pack Monday night's council meeting to support two officers who had been suspended.

Bloomfield residents and other supporters packed the Council Chambers on Monday night for the two Bloomfield police officers who had been suspended over issues concerning time they spent on military duty.

Patrol officers Michael McCracken and Hector Cartagena are accused of falsely claiming time taken off from their police jobs as time spent serving in the military as Air Force reservists. The officers were suspended without pay on Dec. 4 in advance of hearings about their jobs.

The two officers, Bloomfield FOP representative Anthony Argento noted in a public comment at the meeting, were back on the force this week pending hearings.

In a statement at the start of the meeting, Mayor Michael Venezia said he could not publicly comment on personnel issues that he and his administration support veterans.

Argento was joined by other speakers voicing support of McCracken and Cartagena, one of whom described himself as “appalled” by the way the officers had been treated.

Ted Ehrenburg told Bloomfield Life it was his decision to reinstate Cartagena and McCracken.

Several speakers noted that Bloomfield Police Chief Christopher Goul, who had been criticized by the two officers and their supporters for his purported role in the charges, has retired as chief.  Captain James Behre is now heading the department as officer in charge, according to a Bloomfield Life report.

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