PD Captain Says Chief Forced Him To Retire For Using Leave To Care For Sick Mom

Holly Matkin

Former Millville Police Captain Harrison Cranmer served his department for 25 years, and is suing to get his job back.

Bridgeton, NJ – A former Millville police captain has filed a lawsuit alleging that the city forced him to retire in 2018 because he exercised his rights under the New Jersey Family Leave Act (FMLA) to take care of his ailing mother.

Former Millville Police Captain Harrison “Harry” Cranmer, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, is seeking reinstatement to his prior position, as well as punitive and compensatory damages, the Daily Journal reported.

Millville Police Chief Jody Farabella and the City of Millville are both named in the Cumberland County Superior Court lawsuit, and additional defendants may be added.

According to the lawsuit, the veteran officer was promoted to the rank of captain less than a year before his mother fell “severely ill and was hospitalized,” the Star-Ledger reported.

He had stored up nine months of sick leave, applied for leave under the FMLA, and told Chief Farabella about the situation.

“Defendant Farabella was immediately hostile to plaintiff’s request for leave under the NJFLA and told plaintiff he did not want him to go out on leave because it would be disruptive to Farabella’s ‘plans,’” the lawsuit stated, according to the Daily Journal.

The captain began his medical leave on Feb. 1, 2018, but Chief Farabella called him into his office later that month.

During the meeting, the chief told Cpt. Cranmer that his position was only a one-year provisional advancement, and that it was set to expire on March 20, 2018.

It was the first time the captain was ever told that his promotion might not be permanent, the lawsuit claimed.

The chief noted that “he needed guys showing up for work,” at which point Cpt. Cranmer realized that he would likely be demoted for exercising his FMLA rights.

Within days, the Millville City Commission voted to cut the number of captain positions at the Millville Police Department (MPD) from two to one.

The former captain alleged that the city eliminated his position as punishment for his absence, but city officials said they did it in order to hire more officers, according to the lawsuit.

James Birchmeier, who is representing the city, said that city officials “relied on legitimate non-discriminatory factors” when they voted to do away with the second police captain position, and denied that the city took “any type of adverse employment action” against the former captain, the Daily Journal reported.

With his position eliminated, Cpt. Cranmer was scheduled to be demoted back to the rank of lieutenant, the Star-Ledger reported.

But days before that demotion occurred, the captain filed for retirement in order to retain his $117,000 captain’s salary.

Just a week later, he tried to rescind his retirement “because he realized he was not ready and wanted to continue serving the community,” but the city refused his request.

Cpt. Cranmer’s 25-year law enforcement career ended on June 1, 2018.

The former captain has requested a jury trial in an effort to get his job back, The Press of Atlantic City reported.

Comments (23)

I hope he prevails! What this Chief of Police is soo wrong! Probably the Mayor of that city made the decision! In case nobody has thought about all the unjust decisions against LE today, Most, of not all Chiefs are "under the thumb" of their City Mayors! If you don't think it's happening, you're not paying attention...and we should all be outraged!

No. 1-6

So many people against the police these days, beyond sad they can't even count on the chief to have their back.


The chief is a POS.


How about not voluntarily retiring? You made your decision, now live with it. You had other ways to address this before you quit.

Another cop looking for that lottery payout.


I was in his corner till it said he retired. That decision gave the chief the opening he needed. Cranmer owns part of this.


When I first started in law enforcement my brother was killed in a horrific car accident. I remember calling the Captain to request leave for the funeral and to help my parents. He asked, upset, well how much time will you need? I wasn't sure so I said a couple of days. I quickly realized that wouldn't be enough time so I called him back and asked for additional time. He denied my request because the shifts were working short. Moral to the story, your department could give two shits about you or your family. Knowing that makes it much easier to work in law enforcement.