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Police Chief Vacancy Chance to Review Department

Council president says governing body could discuss the Madison Police Department in its entirety and all options going forward in light of Chief John Trevena's retirement.

Madison Police is an opportunity for the borough's governing body and administrators to discuss all aspects of the police department and its table of organization, the Borough Council president said Thursday.

Addressing the vacancy in the department's top spot is more than a matter of picking a new chief, Borough Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto said Thursday.

The department's structure, services, staffing levels and ideas to run the department more efficiently "are all good things to talk about at this point," according to Tsukamoto, the liaison to the police department.

"It's not just putting a name there," she said. "We really have to look at everything. At least that's my intent. We really have to have a comprehensive discussion."

She said that's the case any time there is a vacancy in the borough.

Because the discussion likely would involve personnel, the talks probably would take place in executive session, and, if officials were ready to act on any measures, then votes would be held in public.

She said the process and timing for filling the vacancy are among the topics that could be discussed at the next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13, at . The Mayor and Council meet in closed session at 7 p.m. and the public portion of the meeting starts at 8 p.m.

When Vincent Chirico retired as Madison's chief in 2008, Trevena, then a captain, was appointed acting chief at the next Borough Council meeting and then was appointed chief in 2009 after Chirico finished collecting accrued sick and vacation time.

Since then, the captain position has not been filled and the number of officers has been reduced. Now, there are two lieutenants, Darren Dachisen, who is the officer in charge, and Jerry Mantone. Additionally, there are five sergeants and 19 patrol officers.

The departure of Trevena brings the number of officers to 26. About a week before he retired, Trevena, with the involvement of Borough Administrator Ray Codey and Assistant Borough Administrator Jim Burnet, made a recommendation for the next officer to be hired, a position included in the 2012 budget, Tsukamoto said.

The hiring of that candidate also could be discussed at the meeting. Tsukamoto said she hopes hiring a new officer will allow the Alcohol and Narcotics Task Force to be reinstated, preferably before school starts in September.

Tsukamoto said it's important for Madison to make the best decisions about the for now and into the future.

"Safety is a very basic, basic need of all the residents," she said. "It affects everyone in town."

DidUReallyJustSayThat August 03, 2012 at 06:45 PM
It's nice that the chief fell on his sword (or was forced to resign under duress, which makes you wonder what the prosecutor's investigation turned up?). But before any of the existing members of the MPD are considered for promotion to chief or any other position, Madison needs to know what their involvement in this whole lawsuits mess was. Ditto for our administrative staff. Since the joint court is working so well, and if we are truly going to examine the entire policing function, before we promote anyone to chief on a permanent basis, why not reach out to our partners and see if there's a way to run a merged police department and save some real $$$. Do Madison, Chatham, Chatham Twsp, Harding and Florham Park (not a member of the joint court, but would be a perfect fit for a regional police department) each need their own police force??
Haley Russonello August 04, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Can you please provide specific facts on how court is working so well? How do you know this? Do you work for the court or the borough of Madison ? And does function of court even relate to the function of how a PD would work? Apples to oranges.
DidUReallyJustSayThat August 05, 2012 at 03:13 PM
http://madison.patch.com/articles/towns-call-joint-court-a-success Do you have any proof it isn't working? Sharing services almost always works, and can save big money on something like a PD, which is the borough's most expensive department. Why not investigate the possibility. My guess is that the combined savings would be well over a million dollars.
FNJ August 05, 2012 at 07:22 PM
This police chief "John Trevena" I would have to say was the WORST Police Chief in Madison Police Dept. History! I have never heard of any other small town Police Chief who could lead a department to such disarray and chaos, like Mr. Trevena did....To the Madison Council; PLEASE DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE AGAIN...choose wisely or don't choose one at all.
Patchisarag August 05, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Ask the citizens in Mine Hill how well its working. Its costing them more money and the Officers spend almost all their time in Wharton. Why not advocate for combining schools in those same towns since the majority of your tax dollars go to the BOE? Do you realize how much your local PD really costs you? I bet you pay more a month for your cell phone but don't let that get in the way of your dislike for the Police.
Patchisarag August 06, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Jake, just wondering why my comments have been pending approval for the last three hours. Was it because my comment was positive? The person next to me made a comment on a different article and it was accepted immediately. Why am I waiting so long?
Patchisarag August 06, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Since the North Korean patch deletes your comments when you say something positive I will re-post it: Please describe what disarray and chaos he caused. Are you referring to the fact that one guy was stealing from his own and another was showing "something" to what he believed was a 12 year old or are you referring to the fact that former and present politicians have dismantled the Police Department to bare bones? Both events were out of his control so please cite examples. As a taxpayer in this town I believe we have a great Police Department, which I fully support. They have been through a lot over the past several years so Instead of complaining why don't you stand behind them. Something that the elected leaders fail to do along with some posters on this site. Keep up the good work Madison PD!!

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