Toms River Residents To Decide On Police Cuts In Referendum If Council Doesn’t Withdraw Ordinance

Residents of Toms River have successfully collected over 3,079 signatures to force the Township Council to reconsider an ordinance that cut two police captain positions.

With the petition now in place, if the council does not rescind the ordinance within 20 days, the measure will be put to a vote in the November general election. However, if no general election is scheduled within 90 days, a special election may be required, according to state statutes – meaning the referendum would take place sooner.

The ordinance, introduced in January, cut two captains’ positions and one patrol officer’s job from the police department’s table of organization. Mayor Dan Rodrick has argued that the $700,000 savings from the cuts will be used to hire eight new emergency medical technicians. He has claimed that some residents have had to wait up to 30 minutes for an ambulance, backing up his insistence on the need for the cut in police positions.

Police Chief Mitch Little has suggested finding grant money to pay for the new emergency medical technicians, and has argued that cutting those positions will leave his department understaffed, putting residents’ safety at risk.

However, the move has been met with fierce opposition from police officers, their supporters, and the Policemen’s Benevolent Association and Fraternal Order of Police, who argue that the cuts will compromise public safety.

If the ordinance is rescinded, the two captains’ jobs will be re-established in the police department’s table of organization, allowing a future administration to restore those jobs.

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