The last few days there’s been a flurry of correspondence and information about a story I’m covering. EvoJoe, a Tik Tok personality was pulled over in Toms River, New Jersey, and dealt with an ill-informed officer concerning car carry. The officer accused Joe of illegally carrying a firearm even though he had a permit to carry, and was in compliance with the law at that time. The chief of police in a statement did take some responsibility for the officer involved, Officer Weg, for not knowing the current status of the law. One of Joe’s claims was that he was not speeding, that Officer Weg stated he was on a so-called “speeding grant,” and he was making good overtime writing speeding tickets. It appears that Officer Weg’s motives for pulling EvoJoe over should be called into question because I received information that there was indeed a grant program subsidizing the payment of Officer Weg’s overtime.
One of the things Joe said in his TikTok video was that he was not speeding, and he had a radar detector that did not indicate he was being clocked. After Officer Weg accused Joe of illegally carrying his firearm, Joe alleges that Weg told him he was going to ticket him for speeding rather than arrest him for unlawful carry.
When I caught up with Joe, he told me that Weg was bragging about being paid under a grant and getting some good overtime. I filed an Open Public Records Act request (the New Jersey equivalent of a Freedom of Information Act request) with the Toms River Police Department and got some interesting information. In my second OPRA request concerning Joe’s case, I asked for any and all documents concerning grants or incentives during the time period Weg pulled over EvoJoe.
Any and all documents pertaining to or suggesting a so-called “speeding grant,” whereas an officer will be paid more for writing speeding tickets, was in place the months of July and August 2023. As alleged, officers get paid an additional $75.00 per hour to write speeding tickets. Seeking documentation to support this claim.
Here is how the OPRA department responded:
Good Day, Officers do not get paid extra to write speeding tickets. Periodically the State and Federal government have grants available to local police departments. These grants can be for a variety of things; Seat belt enforcement “Click it or Ticket”, DUI enforcement, safe driving, Cell phone, etc. Officers sign up to work these grants on their off-duty time. Each grant has the hourly rate set in the paperwork for the grant. We hope this explanation helps.
I followed up with another question specifically asking if there was a grant that Weg was working under when Joe was pulled over. The OPRA department’s response:
Good Day, Officer Weg was working a speeding enforcement grant, STEP grant.
A “STEP grant” is a “Selective Traffic Enforcement Program.” This means that Officer Weg’s overtime was subsidized by an outside agency. He was indeed working a shift that was paid for with the intention of “speeding enforcement,” aka writing tickets.
I’ll give credit where credit is due. The records department and OPRA officer(s) at the Toms River Police Department have been very accommodating to all my OPRA requests. So kudos! for making this a crisp process. As for Officer Weg, well, we’ll have to just see how he acted the morning he pulled over Joe once I get the bodycam videos.
It was only a matter of time before a New Jersey permit-to-carry holder got tripped up by a cop that does not know the law. Luckily, Joe was not arrested, to Weg’s credit, but we can’t say for certain he wasn’t harassed. The officer’s ignorance of the carry law is no excuse – as has been the case for countless people who have had their lives ruined by the State of New Jersey’s draconian laws.
Carry is a normal everyday occurrence in the Garden State now. It’s time gun owners are no longer treated like second-class citizens, and further, we get rid of these life-ruining laws once and for all.
Please be sure to catch parts 1 and 2 of this saga: