The Hightstown Borough Council is expected to vote at tonight’s meeting to approve the position of a civilian police director in place of the current police chief in what's been touted as a cost saving measure. The ordinance comes after Police Chief James Eufemia announced his retirement in June, which is effective Sept. 1.
Raymond Hayducka, first vice president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, said that hiring a civilian director would not save money and it’s taking an officer off the street.
"We believe the agency would be best run by a sworn law enforcement officer," Hayducka said.
He added that a civilian police director could not participate in investigations, make arrests or access internal affairs files, and would be limited to administrative duties.
Hightstown Mayor Steven Kirson said a police chief currently costs the borough $175,000 with benefits, and the borough anticipates to hire a civilian police director for around $75,000, saving around $100,000 a year, if the position is approved.
“We will not be loosing a patrol,” Kirson added.
Under the civilian police director plan, it’s anticipated that one of the current sargents would be promoted to lieutenant as the highest ranking uniform officer who would be in charge of day to day operations, but it would ultimately be up to the director, Kirson said.
“We have 10 people on the staff who are experienced and who have served the town … I am confident they will continue to work as they always have with professionalism,” Kirson said.
Patch wants to know what you think about replacing the police chief position with a police director. What do you think about the council potentially approving the plan to hire a civilian police director? Should they keep a uniform police chief as the head of the department?