The following article appeared in today’s Journal News:
A newly hired town police officer has been given Friday nights to Saturday evenings off to accommodate her religious beliefs.
The special work schedule afforded Officer Baile J. Glauber has raised concerns among other officers, said Officer Dennis Procter, the department’s Police Benevolent Association president.
“I hope the town is not going to give special treatment to one individual for religious observances and not give other officers the same opportunities,” Procter said. “We all can’t always make temple or church or spend weekends with our families.”
Glauber, an ultra-Orthodox Jew who married under the Hasidic beliefs, graduated last month from the Rockland Police Academy. She completed the six months of physical training and educational classes to become a police officer.
She asked for the Sabbath off.
A memo dated June 27 to Glauber from Police Chief Peter Brower states, “I have been advised by the Town Attorney, Mike Klein, to modify your current work schedule in order to permit you to maintain the Sabbath Observances.”
Brower assigned Glauber to work Sunday to Thursday on the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, which began June 29. She is still a probationary officer and undergoing field training with a more experienced officer.
However, the Brower memo states Glauber can be called into work from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown in an emergency, like any other officer.
Klein said Friday that he spoke to Brower about changing Glauber’s schedule after the officer requested those days off.
He said Glauber is the town’s first ultra-Orthodox Jewish officer and her request for religious days off is the first he’s come across in 25 years with the town. The county’s other Hasidic officer, Shlomo Koenig, is a detective for the Rockland Sheriff’s Department, but did not work the Sabbath when he started.
Klein said Glauber’s schedule is temporary and contingent on his research of the constitutional issues. He said there were court cases involving employers respecting a person’s religious rights, including issues of working on the Sabbath.
He said the town was also seeking an opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office.
“We have to balance her religious rights with the job of a police officer to respond at all times,” Klein said. “We’ll be researching the issue and reporting back to the town and police department.”
The Ramapo Police Commission, which comprises the Town Board, will discuss the issue, along with the PBA, Klein said.
Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, who supported Glauber’s hiring, said he had no problems with her work schedule. He said he had no problem making reasonable accommodations for people based on their religious beliefs.
“I think we would make accommodation for Christians and anyone else,” he said.
The PBA’s role is to defend their members from discriminatory practices and work violations, Procter said, so the Glauber issue is rather sensitive.
Procter said the town PBA was going to meet with St. Lawrence to discuss several issues, including Glauber’s work schedule.
Glauber has a child & was nominated for hiring in February by the Town Board. She had worked for the Sheriff’s Department Traffic Safety Board before becoming a Ramapo police officer.
She graduated in June 2007 from Rockland Community College.
Glauber could not be reached for comment. She had declined to discuss her background and the police academy training after the June graduation ceremony.
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