Lakewood Police Chief Addresses Issue of Police Officer Who Tore Down Eruv


lawsonLakewood Police Chief Rob Lawson related the following to

There has been considerable interest concerning an Eruv that was taken down by a member of the police department. There has been speculation this was an anti-Semitic gesture and I would like to set the record straight on this.

Earlier this year, I received correspondence from JCP&L informing all police departments of the following:New Jersey State Statute 27:5-9 prohibits the placing of signs (political or otherwise) on public utility poles. In addition, Section 27:5-23 states “It shall be the duty of all departments of State or local government and all county and municipal officers charged with the enforcement of State and municipal laws under the direction of the commissioner to assist in the enforcement of the previsions of this act and the orders issuer or rules or regulations adopted pursuant to this act…the Chief of Police of an municipality are authorized and charged under the direction of the commissioner to enforce the provision of this act and any rules or regulations adopted pursuant thereto” Section 27:5-16 prescribes penalties ranging from $50 to $500 for each offense. Each day of the violation may be deemed to be a separate offense.

(Please visit the following link for additional information:

I passed this information along at a staff meeting and it wasn’t until last week that it became an issue when an Eruv was taken down since it was attached to a JCP&L pole and technically in violation of the above state statute. When I became aware of what had transpired, I called our regional JCP&L Manager and asked him if we could allow the Eruvs on their poles since it is not a sign, poster or banner as described in the statute. I was told that nylon type fishing line Eruvs on their utility poles are definitely not allowed since it would create a hazard for their workers but that a plastic strip (described as a piece of conduit?) was allowable. I also discussed the situation with Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein, who is further researching it with officials from JCP&L.

Subsequently, I called the homeowner (who was very reasonable and understanding) whose Eruv had been taken down and explained the rationale for what had taken place.

All this being said, it is our mission to protect and serve the community and an integral part of that is being respectful and sensitive to the religious practices and customs of all Lakewood residents. The Eruv in question had been up for over a decade and if JCP&L had not removed it when they performed service to the wires on this pole, it is not appropriate for the police to remove it and in the future, it will not be done.

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  1. I don’t get it, maybe someone can explain this to me. The police chief acknowledges at the end that the eruv shouldn’t have been ripped down since it’s been up for over a DECADE and the utility company didn’t care at all – so why should a lakewood police officer “worry” for them, but still seems to somehow justify the actions of the police officer???????
    Judging from this story I would think the officer in question should receive some sort of reprimand, not justification.

  2. Poor excuse! If you walk around Lakewood you will see that every other telephone pole has a sign advertising some carnival or bussiness! All of a sudden it starts bothering them when an eiruv is up?!?

  3. Bottom line is that this policeman had no right taking down the Eiruv. He may have been motivated by Anti semitisim which is existent amongst SOME police officers [case in point; Rabbi Burstien being beaten and arressted by officer Menk, Hatzoloh being tricketed…] The New Jersey State Statute 27:5-9 prohibits “the placing of signs (political or otherwise) on public utility poles” The placing! they are to enforce that noone places a sign etc. They are not told nor are they allowed to remove it!
    Why didn’t the Chief apologize? Why can we just get kicked around? I know why. Do you?

  4. Those that respect Reb Moshe’s Psak re. the Brooklyn Eruv should not be utilizing the Lakewood Eiruv either.

    In NY there are 5 distinct boroughs therefore Queens and Bronx that don’t have 600,000 are not a Rishus Horabim, since we only count each borough’s respective population. But NJ has no such distinct boundaries and therefore the whole state is probably considered as one Eeir Sheyesh Boi Shishim Reboi.

  5. You are probably right. Just like we combine Boro P , Flatbush, and all other neigborhoods, so too we should combine all Townships with regards to 600.000. A Township is not an Eeir for itself. Reb Moishe would never build a Heter on a Doiraisu, based on an assumption that a Township is like a seperate city.

  6. To # 7
    This is gevaldig!!!!!!!!!!
    Are you in kollel or are you such a lamdan that you can’t find your place in any bais midrash?

  7. Hello- we’re not talking about an Eruv for the whole town. This if referring to a block eruv-just for the residents of one particular block.

  8. According to Reb Moshe, since the whole City is considered a Rishus Horabim, you are not alowed to make an Eiruv even on one side street.

    That’s why they forced Bobov to stop closing off 48th Street, and Satmar no longer closes off 53rd Street.

    Some people mistakenly think that the only problem is when you make an Eiruv on a whole neighborhood.

    When in the time of the Satamar Rov (Reb Yoilish), they closed off Bedford Ave for the Sukkohs, it was because they did not follow Reb Moishe’s Psak. They also used to close down Rodney, but no more.

  9. In Eretz Yisroel we’ve heard stories about eruvin being torn down.
    What we haven’t heard in America is uprooting of kevorim.

  10. To # 12
    All of Williamsburg is still full of small eruvin, all year round, and especially on Sukkos.
    The eruv on Rodney St. has nothing to do with Reb Moshe’s zatzal shita.

  11. To #5 and 12
    Please learn the inyan prior to comenting.

    Lakewood does not have a population of 3,000,000 over a twelve mil by twelve mil area so according to Rav Moshe there is no problem in establishing an eruv there. However, according to Rav Aharon, well thats a diffrent story.
    It’s a lie to say that they allowed an eruv on Rodney because they closed the street. Until a few years ago there were eruvin all over Willy. Rav Moshe simply did not figure into the Williamsburg eruv saga.