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Hightstown Borough Council Approves Police Director Position

The ordinance passed Monday after a 3-2 vote.

The Hightstown Borough Council passed the ordinance to replace the police chief position with a civilian police director by a 3-2 vote Monday night.

Mayor Steven Kirson and township officials have said replacing the chief position with a police director would save the township around $100,000, since the current police chief costs the borough $175,000 with benefits.

Mixed emotions on the vote filled the room as community members expressed whether or not the council should approve the vote. Most  agreed a police director should replace the police chief position, however some called for different language of the ordinance.

Talk to in June after , effective Sept. 1.

Critics have said a civilian police director running the department would take an officer off the street and lower department morale.

First Vice President of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police Raymond Hayducka said Friday that the police director position would not save money and would be limited to administrative duties. There were certain tasks, such as viewing internal affairs reports and making arrests, a police director would not be allowed, by law, to do, Hayduck said Friday.

"We believe the agency would be best run by a sworn law enforcement officer," Hayducka said.

Before Monday's vote, Vanderbeck disagreed with critiques and welcomed the new position.

“To go with a police chief is basically a one way street we’re going in. there’s no U-turns. I think with a police director at least at some point you can pull over to the side and change your mind. You can find a U-turn in the road,” Vanderbeck said.

Councilwoman Skye Gilmartin and Lynne Woods voted against the ordinance, while Council President Lawrence Quattrone and council members J. Michael Vanderbeck and Isabel McGinty voted to approve it. Six members sit on the council, however Councilwoman Selena Bibens was not present and declined in advance to vote.

David Bock August 16, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Let me see if I have this right. The City of NY, with 34,500 police offers (excluding the Transit Police Force) and 123 separate police stations and patrol areas, pays its commissioner ( police chief ) $189,700. The Sanctuary Boro of Hightstown, with 11 officers and just a bit less area to police than NYC, pays its head cop $175,000. (Pay and benefits.). Where do I apply ?
Leslie Bianczik August 16, 2011 at 05:04 PM
David, you're forgetting that Hightstown has more gang activity than NYC. That's why the big salary.
David Bock August 16, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Les, In that case, someone is falling down on the job, and should get less money. But....having been at the meeting where the State Police explained how they got their stats on gang activity, I can say that they were totally ridiculous. Frightening to think that our tax dollars are going for such nonsense as presented by the State Police statisticians. By their methodology, if a punk got off the NJ Tpke. in the Sanctuary Boro of Hightstown and drove to Seattle, there would be "gang activity" in every town he passed through on his journey. Maybe good for increasing police budgets, but not accurate, and therefore, not honest. I was surprised that nobody on the Sanctuary Boro of Hightstown council asked the State boys how people got in to the Sanctuary Boro of Hightstown without passing through East Windsor. You Sanctuary Boro of Hightstown folks should take a tip from us in East Windsor, where, according to our council-mandated stats, there is actually no gang activity, no crime, no cranky babies, no crabgrass, etc.

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