Disciplinary Charges Filed in Probe of SWAT Team That Cavorted With Hooters Girls

Disciplinary charges have been issued against an unspecified number of police officers associated with Hoboken's now-disbanded SWAT unit, the city's public safety director announced Thursday.

The city's SWAT team was disbanded in November after officials learned of racy pictures taken during a trip team members made to the New Orleans area in 2006 to help Hurricane Katrina victims. The photos show the unit's commander and other officers posing with waitresses from a Hooters restaurant in Alabama who appeared to be holding police firearms.

William Bergin, the public safety director, said the charges were filed following an investigation by special counsel David Corrigan. Bergin said he received Corrigan's report on Thursday.

Bergin would not disclose the names of those facing discipline or what charges they were facing, saying it was a personnel matter. The city "will afford all charged with the due process to which they are entitled under law," Bergin said.

Bergin, a former deputy chief with the Hoboken Fire Department, was named the city's civilian public safety director in November, shortly after the photos surfaced.

"As director of public safety, I am committed to ensuring the public's confidence in the Hoboken Police Department, and hope that today's action demonstrates the seriousness in which I take that responsibility," Bergin said in written statement.

Chief Carmen LaBruno and Lt. Angelo Andriani, who headed a now-disbanded SWAT unit, also have been accused of forcing subordinates to perform work at their homes on police time.

Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio last month said he would not seek to indict them, but said the department needed to address administrative issues.

Andriani was sued in October by five Hispanic officers, who claim he is a racist who coerced four of them to work on his house when they should have been on duty. Andriani has denied the allegations.

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