Mayor Douglas H. Palmer used the graduation of a Trenton Police Academy class this week as an opportunity to highlight what he called “Trenton Police Director Joseph J. Santiago’s” promise “to strive for a department more representative of our community,” according to the Times of Trenton.
Former Police Director Joseph Santiago has surely diversified the police department during his tenure.
But, despite the comments from the fearless leader of Trenton, current and future officers excelling at their law enforcement vocation face unnecessary peril, should they not toe the Santiago line during their tenure – that is, if Mr. Santiago is not cast out of his office for his admitted violations of the city’s residency law.
That’s because this is simply the way things have been done since Mr. Santiago entered the department in 2003. Since then some of the best and brightest officers have been relegated to midnight shifts, desk jobs, and other positions both demeaning and wasteful of their skills.
It happened only because those same officers refused to follow along with the former director’s ridiculous leadership style, according to those whose lives have been so adversely affected by Mr. Santiago.
Now the brand-new recruits finishing their academy training this week face the same obstacles in their quest to serve the people of Trenton, whatever their skin color, creed, or anything else of that nature.
Their only hope – and the only hope for Trenton’s residents – is a favorable and Appellate Division decision in Mr. Santiago’s residency case, which could put a stop to all of the politically-charged wastage that has occurred in the department since Mr. Santiago took over.