For a moment there it looked like the political interference undermining the Trenton Police Department was actually over, but Mayor Douglas H. Palmer wouldn’t let that happen, proving again that he is the number on threat to the city’s future.
Capt. Fred Reister, made the department’s acting director after court ousters forced out Joseph Santiago, was set to make some changes to the department in the wake of Mr. Santiago’s volatile reign.
Mr. Santiago frequently made the placement of police commanders in the various leadership positions throughout the department based on personal like or dislike rather than individual ability, and that resulted in a department with many of the most skilled officers relegated to positions of irrelevance.
Capt. Reister moved to reverse some of those decisions, by pushing for the transfer of Capt. Ernie Parrey from a meaningless midnight shift to his old position of importance, leading the patrol division.
But already Mayor Palmer has stepped in, saying he wants to take to Capt. Reister and enforce the old management decisions made by Trenton’s ex-director.
These actions show Mayor Palmer has little or no respect for the Trenton taxpayer.
High-paid cops like Capt. Parrey have skills best-suited for use in important police affairs, yet Mr. Santiago was allowed to place Capt. Parrey and dozens of others in positions of little value.
There, these officers’ $100,000 salaries and years of street experience are wasted, with less-qualified individuals occupying positions because of loyalty, rather than actually ability. The monetary cost is astounding, with officers at a city event yesterday estimating that Mr. Santiago’s idiotic personnel decisions “cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.”
There is also the other, less clear cost, in how many crimes have been committed, lives changed, or people killed, all because the Trenton Police Department’s best minds are placed behind desks because a mayor and his appointed stooge would rather rein in the department than let its officers do actual police work.
Unfortunately for Trenton, Mayor Palmer’s recent actions prove that while the departure of Mr. Santiago was of great benefit to the city, the real target for removal should be the mayor himself.
He no longer cares about this city and the people living within it, and that’s just an unacceptable trait in a mayor tasked with the important duty of putting this city on the right path.