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DV Pilot police & fire

Corrections officers join police in opposing Gov. Christie’s pension and health care cuts

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Police in New Jersey aren’t the only public guardians under attack from both criminal elements of society and a governor bent on hacking their pay and benefits.

Naheen Aiken

Following a vicious assault by an inmate on a Bergen County Jail corrections officer a few months ago, another officer was nearly killed this weekend by an inmate in Union County. And their representatives want lawmakers and voters to know.

“We keep hearing about how we all have to share in the sacrifice on our pensions and healthcare,” Kenneth Burkert, a state Corrections PBA delegate and representative of Local 199, but “this weekend the sacrifice was almost an officer’s life.”

Union County Corrections Officer Steven Nagy was conducting a routine cell search when an inmate who was laying in wait attacked with two sharpened weapons.

He lunged at the 18-year veteran, stabbing him four times — one of the right below his eye. Somehow, Nagy subdued his assailant before being taking to an area hospital. He was most recently listed in good condition, state PBA officials said.

“The dangers we face every day [are] inherent in our work. The politicians who are now ready to cut our health care seem to think our jobs are routine,” Burkett said. “They are not.”

“We don’t ask for medals for the work we do,” said Union County Corrections PBA President Joe Krech, “but we also don’t expect our work to be minimized by politicians.”

State PBA Correction Chairman Richie Brown added that Gov. Christie and lawmakers “need to think twice before they apply a broad brush to all public workers. Our job is unique, the risks we take our unique, but the valor we show is common to us all as correction officers.”

Brown put it bluntly: “Trenton politicians want to strip away our health care because we need shared sacrifice. No sacrifice by any politician can compare to what we sacrifice every day, and they need to recognize that.”

The sentiment is shared in Bergen County, where a county sheriff’s officer serving food was knocked down and pummeled in March by an inmate who shouted, “I’m going to kill you.”

“You’re dead,” 23-year-old Naheen Aiken screamed, while kicking Officer Jeffrey DiCostanzo in the head before colleagues rushed in and restrained him.

Aiken is charged in a terrifying holdup of an Elmwood Park fast-food joint involving him and another man .

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