Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer said Tuesday that New Jersey’s capital would have a very difficult time finding a new Police Director to replace Joseph Santiago, in the event of Mr. Santiago’s ouster at the hands of City Council over the director’s violation of city residency law.
“At the end of the day, who’s going to be here? Who’s going to run the police department? No one,” said Mayor Palmer Tuesday to City Council, between singling out individual residents. “Nobody’s coming to this city. Nobody’s coming to this city under this situation.”
But to many, the mayor’s comments went against everything he has said publicly for many years, when he has proclaimed Trenton’s resurgence and drop in crime under Mr. Santiago.
The mayor Tuesday cited the city’s continued public safety problems and the tendency for police directors to come under fire for receiving accrued police pensions while receiving the salary of the directorship, as the main obstacles to finding a new director.
But this sounded like doublespeak, contradicting statements about the drop in crime and the city’s continued developed, which he has repeatedly harped to the local and national media and to his buddies at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
And what was worse is that comments about the difficulty in finding Mr. Santiago’s replacement are not true at all.
Several high-ranking New Jersey police officials speaking on condition of anonymity said speaking on condition of anonymity said earlier in the week that they would absolutely be interested in a position leading the capital’s police force.
What’s more, one well-respected leader who was interviewed – who once led the police department of another similar-sized New Jersey city – said he would be interested in moving into the Mill Hill neighborhood of Trenton.
Island resident Bill Kearney probably summed it up best, in public comment following the executive’s temper tantrum on Tuesday.
“It’s either a renaissance or a hell hole with the mayor,” Mr. Kearney said.