Hoboken disbanded its SWAT team this week after another scandal rocked the police department of the tiny New Jersey town across the river. A number of minority officers recently filed a lawsuit accusing a high-ranking co-worker of behaving like a white supremacist, regularly deriding minorities. Now the SWAT team has been disbanded days after photos became public showing the unit's commander and other cops cavorting with waitresses at a Hooters restaurant in Alabama.
The Mile Square police officers were in Alabama to help with hurricane Katrina clean-up efforts. On their way home, a department lieutenant took his men to Hooters, where they were pictured posing with guns and getting drunk. Lt. Angelo Andriani "is not only the commanding officer of the Hoboken Police Department's SWAT team, he is, in fact, the city's director of Homeland Security." Newly appointed Hoboken Public Safety Director, Bill Bergin, ordered the police chief to disband the SWAT team in reaction to the Hooters video and photos becoming public.
The move appears to have come in reaction to embarrassment that the squad brought to the town. Hoboken's Mayor, David Roberts, reportedly confronted his police chief this week demanding to know what else he could expect to become public. WABC reported the conversation included expressed fear that more was coming: "'When did you first learn of this' and of course the next question was 'is there more to come?' Did they make two stops on the way back to New Jersey?"
The mayor seemed concerned with the negative public impact the incident could have on Hoboken. He told WNBC "The brazenness of the whole situation, because everything in the photographs, which I was shocked at, had Hoboken all over it, from the uniforms, to the police car, the bus that was involved." Also, the Hooters girls were taped brandishing the SWAT team's automatic weapons.