SOMERSET, NJ - The Township of Franklin issued a statement regarding the recent police department takeover and its "substantial mismanagement."
The unsigned statement says the recent arrest of a patrolman and the retirement of Chief Richard Grammar prompted the council to take necessary steps to "analyze, and then transform, the leadership" of the FTPD.
The mismanagement of the department was hidden from the council due to laws that prevent "the Township Council and Manager from exercising effective oversight of the day to day management" of the police department when headed by a chief of police according to the statement.
An investigation by the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office revealed: "that there has been substantial abuse of the practice of granting Union Leave to members of the Department."
According to the statement, dozens of officers have used hundreds of days of leave that was not suitable for their role in the police force.
"Upon learning of this practice, it was immediately terminated, and the Township Manager has now taken the necessary steps to recapture the time off inappropriately granted," the township statement reads. "This practice is emblematic of the structural deficiencies within the department that will be corrected by the Township Council."
The correction will take place in the form of a director of public safety position, a position that will report directly to Township Manager Bob Vornlocker.
An ordinance was recently introduced, which will be up for final passage at the Aug. 13 council meeting, removes the positions of chief of police and deputy chief of police in favor of a director of public safety and officer in charge.
According to the ordinance, the director of public safety will have to report at least monthly to Vornlocker.
"By bringing the day to day operation of the Department under civilian control and the direct authority of the Township Manager, we will enhance public oversight of the Department and ensure that the resources dedicated to the Department are always used to benefit the residents of the Township," the township statement reads.
TAP here to read the full statement.
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