EdPDLaw pays tribute to recently retired PBA #109 President Luis Ocasio who retired on January 12, 2015. Ocasio joined the Hudson County Corrections Department on July 5, 2000 at a starting salary of $21,947 and has served in the capacity of Correction Officer until his retirement. Ocasio’s ambition was to stop the influx of drugs and contraband into the facility and throughout his career he made many inmate arrests. His efforts were recognized by Warden Green on May 9, 2003 when he received an Award of Excellence “Drug Buster/Seizure of Contraband Weapons and CDS” accommodation.
In 2008 Ocasio was voted to serve as Alternate State Delegate for PBA Local #109 and in 2010 he was voted President. He served 2 terms as PBA President and served his members unselfishly exhibiting exemplary leadership skills until his retirement.
Great Leadership Skills
“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
~ Calvin Coolidge, American President
Some of his accomplishments as President include:
Had the Blue Ribbon Charges dismissed against 17 Officers
Filed over 100 grievances for PBA 109
Made sure Internal Affairs was following Attorney General and Civil Service Guidelines
Won back time, seniority, and hundreds of thousands of dollars for Officers on wrong step of pay system
Filed grievance for overtime meal breaks and won guaranteeing lunch period or $$$ to anyone who works over 5 hours of OT
Fought to Protect Pregnant Officers and their Unborn Children
Assisted officers to secure attorneys through LPP to fight unjust charges
Won compensation for officers for OT for
Stood up for officers rights while enduring Relentless Retaliation
Obtained radios, vest and black boxes for the facility
Reviewed Aramark Contract and grieved Quality of Officer's Food
Obtained permission for officers to qualify with their Off Duty Weapons
Made sure Hospital Details were covered with 2 Officers
Fought for Hurricane Sandy pay for Member's Personal Vehicles
Demanded immediate extermination of Bedbugs from Holding South and D100 East
Protected officers in the "Paver Caper"
From removing spies from the bathroom of the Christmas Party to leading the charge against corruption, Ocasio did it all. He could frequently be seen in decision making "discussions" with Grievance Committee Chairman Murray.
PBA President Luis Ocasio fought for each and every member of his Union to improve the working environment for every officer.He worked long hours taking calls all throughout the day and the night.
He exhibited great Pride, Honor and Charisma in carrying out his duties, making sure that representatives from the Union attended funerals for fallen officers and were in attendance at special events that impacted law enforcement.
"When it comes to charisma, the bottom line is othermindedness. Leaders who think about others and their concerns before thinking of themselves exhibit charisma.”
~John C. Maxwell
Ocasio never turned any member away and did not “pick and choose” who he would or would not help.He showed no favoritism and treated everyone equally as brother and sisters in blue.On one occasion he was approached by a member who had previously filed a Complaint against him leading todiscipline.Ocasio put his personal feelings aside and helped the member because “it was the right thing to do”.
“Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.”
~ Bernard Montgomery, British Field Marshal
Ocasio was frequently retaliated against as he fought to make working conditions better for the membership.On January 4, 2011 the Director retaliated against the Union by ordering a Class “A” Uniform Inspection.The Director’s goal was to alienate Ocasio from the Union but he failed miserably. His inspection only made the Union stronger as members pulled together and rallied the troops. Members bought, borrowed and obtained uniforms to pass the inspection.
And then of course there was the Memorandum banning bottled water from the facility.
“Developing excellent communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly to motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.”
“How you say?”"What do you call it?" Ocasio was never more poignant in getting his message across than when he gave his interview for NJ CORRECTIONS NOW Magazine which was printed in the August/September 2011 issue:
When asked about the spending of tax dollars Ocasio responded:
"These “Blood Suckers” are playing the system all across the country and there is no one there to police them.I’m not saying that they are all stealing, but from where I am sitting it sure seems like it.We need to start demanding that these crooks and all their cronies be prosecuted and banned from politics.”
~Local # 109 PBA President, Luis Ocasio
Ocasio, tell us how you really feel…..
“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”
PBA President Ocasio was threatened and retaliated against far too many times to count.He was given the worst assignments, disciplined falsely, threatened with physical violence against both him and his family.He even had his phone tapped.He and his family paid a far greater price than anyone should have to while holding the office of PBA President. He could have very easily just given in and played ball with the Administration but he was an honorable leader, with integrity, who took his commitment to the membership seriously. He wanted to make a difference and he has.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you cannot do.”
You survived Hudson County President Ocasio!There is nothing you cannot do.
Good luck and best wishes in all you do. You will be missed.