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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    How Far Can a Mayor Go?


Police and
Law Enforcement News





How Far Can
 a Mayor Go?
Police and Law Enforcement News
Sunday, August 26
, 2009 9:50 a.m.

Something stinks in Atlantic City, and it ainít the buffet at the Trop.


In a very unusual move, the mayor of the city pulled the police departmentís k-9 unit. 

From the Press of Atlantic City:

The Langford administration ordered major changes to the city's Police Department on Monday that could save city money, quell resident complaints and, at the same time, possibly put the public's safety at risk.

Business Administrator Michael Scott ordered Police Chief John J. Mooney to indefinitely cease the use of police canines and prohibit officers, along with other resort officials, from bringing their city-issued vehicles home.

Chief Mooney wasted no time responding to the order and criticizing Mayor Langford.  Also from the Press:

"The Police Department is being targeted by the administration," Mooney said. "I think it's political in nature and clearly directed at me."   He said Monday he plans to sue the city, claiming the mayor does not have the authority to interfere with the department's daily operation.

This is an extremely troubling situation. 

Police dogs are used to aid and protect police officers; they are not pawns on the pissing match chessboard. 

Police dogs are often sent into situations so we donít have to send risk a human officer.  Pulling a K-9 unit exposes line officers to more dangers.

In the same article, Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Mayor Langford, is quoted as saying that the dogsí reactions during apprehensions have been resulting in daily complaints to the Mayor's Office

Daily complaints, huh?  Why does this just not ring true?  ďDailyĒ just sounds a bit much.

If there have been daily complaints, were they forwarded to the internal affairs section of the Atlantic City Police Department?  If the complaints were potentially criminal, was the Atlantic County Prosecutorís Office notified? And there should be records of both?

We can all agree that it is the mayor who runs a town, not the police department or the police chief.  The mayor is who the people elected. 

However, there must be and are limitations as to how far a mayor or any elected official can delve into the running of a police department.

Mayors can reduce funding, make inquiries, and even pull the take-home cars.  However, they cannot answer calls, run investigations or green-light snipers.

Everyone needs to be monitoring was goes on here closely.

And, hopefully, this is on the radar for the New Jersey Police Chiefs Association.



Share your Thoughts on This Editorial

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group, or that are just beyond reason.  Letters will be reviewed and posted each day. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission. 


Your Comments

The interesting thing will be when one of those K-9 officers gets into a use of force situation and uses deadly force because his option of the lesser mechanical force "the dog" is no longer here.  Will the mayor then stand up to the people of Atlantic City and maybe take the blame?

Outside of the right to cut funding and direct the use of patrol vehicles, its clear under 40A that the Chief is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the department.  The Mayor is clearly overstepping his bounds.

It is troubling to hear that the Mayor of Atlantic City believes he has the authority to override the Chief of Police regarding specific police units.  K9 units are a huge asset to any police department, especially in an urban setting.  Eliminating a K9 unit as a cost saving measure is short sighted and foolish.  After all, hundreds of hours of training and funding has already been applied to furnish the police department with K9 units.  Is all that spent money supposed to go to waist now?

I came from a department that also had the canine unit ended by a mayor. I sounds like Atlantic City has the same incompetent Mayor.

It is a fact that canine units save money and saves Lives which is the business we are in.

When you have a canine unit you will save on man power.

A police officer and a dog in most situations is comparable as to five police officers.

Figure it out Mayor canines saves lives and money!!!!

-Berkeley Officer








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