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Saddle Brook-Elmwood Park Daily Voice serves Elmwood Park & Saddle Brook

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DV Pilot police & fire

Saddle Brook police chief says mayor, council lied, removed him from promotions, appointments

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

A POLICE CHIEF WRITES: I write with dismay at the decisions of the township of Saddle Brook in the recent promotions and appointments (and lack thereof) within the police department.

With regard to the promotions of a captain and lieutenant: Receiving a telephone call on July 1st at noon from the business administrator advising me that Mayor Chamberlain requests two officers to attend a special swearing-in event for promotions to be held at 6 p.m. the same day is clearly not the way to promote and advise the chief of police.

Just 3 months ago, a special and formal request was made at the April Township Council meeting to pro-actively meet, discuss and evaluate the future table of organization of the police department.

I was told by Township Council President Richard Conte, among other council members, that we would meet and discuss the matter.

That never happened and I was shut out of any further discussion.

With regard to selecting two of three new officer appointments when the Mayor and Council were committed and had budgeted and approved 5 appointments in this year’s budget (two to be for African-American candidates as per agreement with the NAACP and three from the new list of certified eligibles from the NJ Civil Service Commission), I suspect the dilemma of either selecting my daughter (the 3rd-ranking eligible on the list) or bypassing her for another eligible candidate caused the Mayor (or her designee) to re-assess her options for a later date.

What should have happened, as I suspect may happen anyway, is that they should have just selected or bypassed my daughter for another eligible candidate and let everyone move on with their lives. At least Saddle Brook would have had an additional, desperately needed police officer ready to patrol the community upon graduation from the police academy in December!

It is unbelievable that the township can cite the economy as the reason for not making the third new officer appointment (at a cost of $18,000, which was already budgeted and approved) and at the same time make promotions that were supposed to be at least professionally discussed and evaluated prior to their implementation (and, I add, not needed at this time).

As a whole, I’m disappointed with both the Mayor and Township Council for not standing up to do the right thing and discuss the future police department table of organization like they said they would do — not only out of respect to the office of the chief of police but at the very least for the sake of the taxpayers and the police department.

Shame on all of them!!

It’s a lonely island I’m on right now and been on for some time, but I’m proud and happy to be on it.

I’ve been in this game for quite some time, and I know the political circumstances and circus acts that present themselves at times.

I may not agree with the decisions, however bizarre they may be, but I will respect the results of the decisions and await more decisions — or, perhaps, new decision makers.

Either way, I’m at peace knowing that I do my part as I’m obligated to do, and will always do, to the best of my ability.

Robert J. Kugler
Chief of Police
Saddle Brook Police Department

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