Feud over Ramapo cops' religious observance resolved

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The Ramapo Police Department has been divided by a dispute over the officers? right to have schedules that accommodate religious observance.

In June, a rookie officer, who is an Orthodox Jew, asked for a special schedule that would allow her to observe her Sabbath, and her request was quickly granted.

Shortly after, the town?s PBA says Officer Ernst Tenemille, a Seventh-Day Adventist who has been on the force for seven years, started putting in requests to have Fridays and Saturdays off also to observe Sabbath.

But according to PBA President Dennis Procter, Tenemille?s letters elicited no response, with officials claiming they never got them in the first place.

"This is the first that it?s come to us, and it came to us through the form of a grievance,? says Town Supervisor Chris St. Lawrence. ?We wanted to have the officer come and request to the police commission that he would like to have this day, and that's something we take very seriously."

Procter says, however, Tenemille was not invited to attend the commission meeting until the issue reached the media. He also claims not all officers are being treated equally.

Now, the police commission says Tenemille will be able to work out a schedule that would accommodate his religion.

According to St. Lawrence, police officers with similar requests have to submit them to the proper officials for discussion at the next commission meeting. He also adds that the town of Ramapo will work to create a policy that would address similar concerns in the future.

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