Kelly Chesler, amid alleged sexual harassment, scored 4th out of 22 in JCPD on captains test

In light of her sexual harassment lawsuit in federal court, Real Jersey City takes a look at the resume of Kelly Chesler – including thoughts from sources inside the JCPD regarding issues surrounding the matter.

Kelly Chesler

Jersey City Police Lieutenant Kelly Chesler

Following up on her sexual harassment lawsuit filed in federal court, Real Jersey City looked into the resume of Jersey City Police Lieutenant Kelly Chesler.

In addition to what was mentioned in Real Jersey City’s first story regarding Chesler’s lawsuit, the suit also stated she finished 1st in her academy class in 1999.

From 1999 to 2005 she served as a police officer, and from 2005 to 2011 as a sergeant. In June of 2011 she became a lieutenant, and upon promotion was named Executive Officer for the North District.

As stated in the first report, Chesler was named Executive Officer for the new Special Operations Division in September of 2013. The position was considered that of a commander, making her the only female commander in the Jersey City Police Department, according to the lawsuit.

Also, during the time Chesler claims the harassment against her occurred, she scored 4th out of 22 on the JCPD captains test, according to civil service records.

Furthermore, a LinkedIn page, that appears to be owned by Chesler, says she’s been a Paramedic Tour Chief with the Jersey City Medical Center EMS for the last twenty seven years.

In addition to her record, a few JCPD sources spoke off-the-record about some of the circumstances surrounding Chesler’s lawsuit.

(NOTE: None of the sources Real Jersey City spoke with for this story were women, and none would comment on any specific allegations made in the lawsuit.)

While none of the sources I spoke with said anything bad about her performance as a cop, many were disgruntled with her. One source, who was rather upset over the lawsuit, said some “good guys” were getting hurt for “no good reason.”

That source also said Chief Philip Zacche was doing as good of a job as he could “cleaning up the mess” that his predecessor had created for him.

Another source said, “all these lawsuits are making [JCPD] look like a circus show department. These things should be handled privately, not out in the media.”

That source went on to explain that the basis of the internal conflict was a dispute between the police unions and Robert “Bubba” Cowan, the former police chief. At the heart of the conflict is two issues:

1. Cowan was “too hands on” with the actual day-to-day operations of the JCPD, unprecedented for a chief, and that it was wearing out a lot of people in the department. A “dictator” as one source said, rather definitively.

(For the record – for what it’s worth – I know a bar owner that once received a citation from then-Chief Cowan at an early morning hour.)

2. Mayor Steven Fulop was looking to get on good terms with the Jersey City police unions – which were aligned with former Mayor Jerramiah Healy – for his potential 2017 campaign for governor. In a battle between Cowan and the unions, Fulop sided with latter – which they were happy about.

The source also said that Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea and the police unions have a “good” working relationship now, something Shea supposedly didn’t have with Cowan, and that has helped improve the relationship between the unions and Fulop.

A source close to Chesler claims that her and her co-plaintiff – her former supervisor Captain Joseph Ascolese – were targeted because of the politics surrounding their allegiance to Cowan. That source also objected to a Kane In Your Corner (KIYC)-News 12 report in August of 2014, which supposedly didn’t “tell the full story.”

It’s unclear whether any of the Jersey City officers identified in the August 2014 KIYC report have been disciplined or charged with any wrongdoing, and Jersey City Spokesperson Jennifer Morrill did not respond to an email seeking comment on the matter.

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