Toms River Mayor Daniel Rodrick has revoked recent promotions within the township’s police department, redirecting resources towards bolstering flagging emergency medical services.
In a public statement, Rodrick said that the move renders moot a contentious ordinance proposed for Township Council consideration to cut the police department’s brass. Despite this, the Council still plans to move forward with ordinance, whose second reading and public hearing are slated for a special council session at 2 PM this Wednesday in town hall.
Introduced on January 18th, the ordinance’s progress was marred by technical difficulties during a virtual public hearing on January 31st. The meeting was abruptly ended after a commenter began making antisemitic comments.
Public dissent against the ordinance has manifested in two recent demonstrations, accompanied by an ongoing petition effort aimed at repealing the measure or subjecting it to a referendum.
Rodrick says the elimination of two captain positions within the police department is projected to yield approximately $700,000 in savings. Those funds will be reallocated to recruit and deploy eight EMTs.
Rodrick stressed that concerns over emergency response times – citing instances where residents experienced delays of up to thirty minutes for an ambulance – are unacceptable.
Meanwhile, Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little says efforts are underway to secure state grants and explore shared services agreements with neighboring municipalities to offset costs and ensure the police department can operate in a manner that won’t impede the safety of residents.