- Dean Smith
Vigorous Reality Show Participant is “Disabled” Retired Cop in NJ
Eunice Lee of The Star-Ledger reports the story of Joseph Derrico, a retired Hamilton Township, New Jersey police officer, collecting a disability pension of about $70,000 per year. New Jersey Watchdog and NBC 4 New York report that after Derrico’s retirement in 2010, he’s starred on truTV’s “Bear Swamp Recovery,” a reality “repo” series that claims to be the “baddest towing team in Jersey.”
The “Monster Truck Showdown” episode, which aired approximately one year after the receipt of his first pension check, featured Derrico chasing a monster truck on foot and throwing the driver out of the truck to the ground.
Another employee of the Bear Swamp repo business, P.J. Vinch, stated that Derrico, along with the rest of the crew, didn’t actually participate in strenuous activity. According to Vinch, the show “was all staged. Nobody was exerting any physical activity. Nobody was actually fighting; it was mocked for TV.”
If Derrico had been convicted of theft by receiving stolen property before his retirement, a felony charge he had been indicted on by a grand jury in Mercer County in 2010, his benefits would have been reduced or stopped altogether. But Mercer County Prosecutor, Joseph Bocchini, dismissed the case.
Unfortunately for Derrico, he has retired less than five years ago, which means state authorities can order a re-examination to determine whether he is still disabled.