Sunday, February 17, 2008

Joseph Santiago To Explain Police Director Role

Google Joseph Santiago and the number three entry is this New York Times article on his hiring as police director in Trenton.

Note well the quote from Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer, "'I could've never gotten Joe Santiago if he wasn't damaged goods."

Joseph Santiago is being brought in Tuesday to testify on the role of a police director, presumably to bolster the administration's case for abolishing the title of police chief, now held by Edward Santiago.

Joseph Santiago's past record aside, the plan proposed by Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig is not to have a free-standing civilian police director, but to have an "executive officer" in charge.

Here is the exact quote from Hellwig's presentation on the reorganization he proposed last year: "Eliminate the Rank of Chief of Police. An Executive Officer from the rank of Captain is identified to run the day-to-day operations of the Police Division. He/she reports to the Director of Public Safety. Current Chief has option to revert to rank of Captain."

In effect, Hellwig himself is the civilian police director, having administrative powers over both the Police and Fire divisions.

This whole situation needs clarification, not testimony from a ringer whose position does not match the issue at hand.

The meeting is 7:30 p.m. in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave.

-Bernice Paglia


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