Get politics out of policing

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.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Get politics out of policing

  1. westwrdguy57

    Why not change our form of government to a Council/Manager type. Then there is no mayor. It takes most, if not all of the power from one person, the mayor, and holds him or her directly accountable to The Council. In this arrangement a contract is made between the manager/mayor and council to ensure the duties of delegating business are carried out responsibly.

    But some things never change and that’s been the case in Trenton for a very long time, 18 long years to be exact. Mayor Palmer’s New Vision has failed.

    I myself don’t care about nightclubs (Katmandu) and sports arenas as I have never been to either one. These were county projects anyway. The mayor takes much credit for bringing about these two entertainment facilities. Hell, what mayor wouldn’t want them in their town? Palmer’s only active role in bringing these projects amounted to standing there with the ceremonial shovel and shaking hands with Bob Prunetti. Ok, it wasn’t all that simple, but Palmer only could have dreamt of such large scale projects with all the associated complexities.

    I think most of us care more about quality of life issues and property taxes. The streets here are much more dangerous than back in 1990. I know this first hand because I had a job that brought me into the most dangerous areas of the city. Places that then were no so scary to the extent one would fear being a vicitm of serious assault or worse and people for the most part at least respected authority. There were street thugs as always, but never the level of fear as exists today.

    Since this mayor took office taxes have been raised every single year. People can bear so much and then it becomes unbearable to stay. Some here have property taxes that are close to what the entire mortgage payment once was, including taxes. And for this we award them all a 6 figure salary, job perks, and a city owned car to drive at their discretion?

    Living here is sort of like having a dictator for a leader. Mayors have no business interfering in police departments’ everyday affairs. Yea, it is extreme to make this analogy in our setting. But from a broader world view, some one time insignificant leaders were really nascenting facists. They hide their true intentions until it’s too late and by then they have armies of loyalists behind them.

    Mayors can be impeached and from what I read of one very small New Jersey town, it already happened. They created a from and posted on internet for the residents to put print their name and address. People have to get the word out through the newspapers and fliers how serious a state of affairs we are in. It is pretty involved at this time since Palmer is out in under 2 years. It should have happened like a decade ago, when most homes had interent access.

    It took a whole lot of effort to rid us of Santiago. The fact he waited to the end to depart demonstrates he was not a man to be believed. The 75 days he was given to leave was used to cause more disruption in the department. A man of integrity would have left town gracefully in a few days.

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