LONG BRANCH: The city police department may soon be headed by a chief of police for the first time in over 40 years.
The Long Branch Council introduced an ordinance during its June 13. that would create the positions of police chief and two deputy police chiefs. Currently, the department is overseen by Public Safety Director Jason Roebuck, who also oversees the Long Branch Fire Department. Under the new arrangement, the the public safety director position would remain but be held by someone who is not a police officer.
Usually the position of public safety director is held by a civilian, but in 1991, a member of the police department has held the position, Mayor Adam Schneider told Word On The Shore this week. However, Schneider said the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office has been "examining the position for a number of different reasons, and recently told the city that the position should only be used if it is held by a civilian.
"We're not thrilled with having to make a chief's position, we haven't had any problems with the way things are," Schneider said. "In a perfect world I would leave it as it is."
However, Schneider said he realizes that a change needs to be made.
Other council members do not feel the same way. Councilman John Pallone voted against the introduction of the ordinance and the creation of the three new positions.
"I have always supported most, if not all of the initiatives this department has brought forward to us, however this is something very different," Pallone said. "This will create the three highest salary positions on the force. If anything let's continue to put more patrolman in the streets and not more chiefs behind desks."
Councilwoman Mary Jane Celli, who is currently nursing an injury, was not in attendance but also said she did not support the ordinance in a note that was read at the meeting.
If the ordinance is ultimately adopted, a interim police chief would likely be appointed and officers interested in the three new positions would take a civil service test near the end of the year, Schneider said.