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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    A Sidelined Dog, an Injured Cop, and a Remorseless Mayor


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A Sidelined Dog, an Injured  Cop, and a Remorseless Mayor
Police and Law Enforcement News
Monday, September 7,
2009 9:50 p.m.

For those not following the situation in Atlantic City, youíre missing quite a fracas.


Last month Mayor Lorenzo Langford pulled the entire K-9 unit of the Atlantic City Police Department against the wishes of Police Chief John Mooney.  Many, including us (See Editorial How Far Can a Mayor Go?), questioned whether the mayor was out of bounds by involving himself with the day-to-day operations of the police department.

Unfortunately, that question remains unanswered.

Today, the situation in Atlantic City continues to swing between the bizarre and the scary. 

Letís begin with the bizarre. 

From the September 1st Press of Atlantic City:

The mayor defended his decision to cease the use of patrol dogs conducting an investigation, arguing that city employees are commonly suspended over allegations until an investigation can be conducted.

The comparing of police dogs to city employees begs for a satirical response.  Itís a softball for any writer not completely void of wit.  Unfortunately, the situation has deteriorated to a point where satire would be inappropriate.

The scary.

Last Tuesday night, Atlantic City K-9 Officer Frank Timek rushed to the aid of another officer in an altercation.  Officer Timek did not have his partner Vader, a fully trained patrol, narcotics, and apprehension dog, at his side.  (continued below)


The officers won the violent confrontation with the alleged drunken mixed martial artist who managed to get hold of one of the officersí batons.  However, Officer Timek wound up in the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center for injuries sustained to his head, knees, and hands during the fight.

And while Officer Timekís dog Vader would have most certainly brought the suspect down single-handedly, the most probable outcome would have been the suspect conceding without a fight just from the mere intimidating presence of the trained, police patrol dog. 

The dogs will apparently remain sidelined until the mayorís office completes their investigation into the supposed police brutality complaints.  In other departments, such complaints are handled in accordance with strict guidelines issued by the New Jersey Attorney General.  Apparently, Atlantic City has seceded from the state or at least the stateís laws regarding internal affairs investigations.

This entire situation is only going to worsen for Mayor Langford.  Most certainly, he has already lost the faith and support of the rank and file of his police department.  The local media are even questioning his actions.

Pulling an entire K-9 unit from a police department based on unsubstantiated and uninvestigated complaints isnít leadership: itís showboating.

At the end of the day, itís rather simple: if there is a complaint, thoroughly investigate it; if there is a violation, thoroughly punish it; and if there is a false allegation, thoroughly defend against it. 

The police officers in Atlantic City donít work in those several blocks we visit each year for mini-conventions and expos.  They work in areas some would call war zones.  They work in areas where good people trapped by history or circumstances need their local police and everything in their arsenal desperately. 

Give them the tools they need.  Give them the dogs.

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 mayor is not trained in police tactics, not trained in criminal law yet is in control of decisions regarding both.  Hmm,  sounds like this mayor should just make himself the chief, set up a 1 day class and make himself a cop..  Oh wait that was done before and ended poorly for the "gentleman" that tried it... 

On the other hand when or if a cop or worse a civilian gets harmed due to POLITICAL INTERFERENCE maybe just maybe the A. G. or maybe even a certain Governor that was " a lawyer " will stop the insanity !!! 

Forcing officers to leave valuable enforcement tools on the sidelines is stupid. Criminals that aren't afraid to fight the Police, are afraid of the dog and will submit with less chance of an officer having to risk injury. Who are we really protecting here? End the nonsense, leave day to day operations to the people trained in running them and not the winners of a popularity contest.

A law enforcement administrator should be charged with making such a decision, not a politician with no police experience. This was obviously a panicked decision by a politician who is looking only out for himself and not the officers who serve and protect his dumb ass.  I find it hard to believe that their is a brutality complaint under investigation for every individual handler and his K9 partner within Atlantic City Police. If their was wrong doing by an individual officer then go after him, not the entire unit. If a similar compliant comes against a single patrol officer, do you remove all of those officers until the complaint is investigated?? I am so tired of uninformed morons who get appointed to these positions. Mr. Mayor, you should do a ride along with a canine handler for a week in that battlefield of a city and then decide. You moron!!!!!!!

Mayors have no place in the police dept-that's why there's a chief.  Let the mayor be the mayor and the chief do the job that he has earned.  ACPD be assured that mayor will need/want something from you one day.  I cant wait to hear that you couldn't serve him to the best of your ability because you had no K-9 available.  KARMA will be on your side for this one.

A Previous Poster said: 

"Police dogs are the tools of oppression that serve no legitimate purpose other than to induce fear and as an excuse to bypass judges for warrantless searches violating our 4th amendment.  Any dog can be trained to bark on command and that's just the excuse that's needed in order to violate your rights.  If people want to be police, then follow our laws, and do the work yourselves.  Is Police work too dangerous?  Then quit." Responded: 

"Regarding your comment on bypassing judges, that is not true.  You do not need a search warrant to use a dog in areas available to the public.  This would include the exterior of a vehicle."

My response:  I don't think that the previous poster was complaining about the dog sniff that occurs outside the vehicle / locker / whatever.  I think he was complaining that this should not be considered as probable cause to go inside the private area.  I think the previous poster is correct, too, about everything. 

I wouldn't want to be on the other end of this Officer's lawsuit when it rolls in. The fact is plain and simple as the editorial stated the officer would not have been injured and the confrontation would than most likely would not have occured had he had Vader with him. Officer Timek and the rest of the ACPD goodluck and you have the support of the NJ Police community as a whole. Thank you for your service.

Ptlm. Nick Barbetta #2608
South Harrison Police Dept.

It's always nice to hear words of encouragement and support from someone, somewhere, other then the men and women in the same uniform as you are.

THANK YOU NJLAWMAN for your support!

Ptl. F. Ingargiola #752 ACPD

ACPDs K-9 Unit is the political football plain and simple. I've read in the AC Press about the so called criminal I mean public outcry. Its funny how they leave out what it was that these so called victims were actually bit for, I'm sure it wasn't for jay-walking. If your not doing anything wrong then you should have no fear of a police dog.
Stay safe ACPD don't let these savages bring you down!!!

No legitimate purpose? That could be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Police work is about having the right set of tools for the situation. Without dogs you can guarantee yourself a higher number of deaths both police and suspects

The basic problem in Atlantic City politics is it is a one party system. There is never a choice for residence as their votes don't count. Each election year  there is usually only two candidates to choose from. They are both Democrats. As in past Atlantic City elections they are completely corrupted results. Years ago when Langford won his first mayoral election against Jim Whelan (probably one of only three honest mayors in Atlantic City's history) he won solely on the absentee ballot count. He achieved the winning result by garnering the help of thug, drug dealer, gang leader and possible murderer.. who was the leader of a local home grown Atlantic City gang called the Abdullahs.

Police dogs are the tools of oppression that serve no legitimate purpose other than to induce fear and as an excuse to bypass judges for warrantless searches violating our 4th amendment.  Any dog can be trained to bark on command and that's just the excuse that's needed in order to violate your rights.  If people want to be police, then follow our laws, and do the work yourselves.  Is Police work too dangerous?  Then quit. Response
Regarding your comment on bypassing judges, that is not true.  You do not need a search warrant to use a dog in areas available to the public.  This would include the exterior of a vehicle.

A few weeks back, at the scene of a "thug party" taking place at a local bar, 30 LEO's from various towns showed up to quell a disturbance (go figure).

It was the arrival of two K-9 units that sent over 100 fine citizens scattering. One of the "gentlemen" in custody said: "None of us is afraid of no cops, but we don't do dogs!"

This group was clearly looking for a fight. The dogs and their partners took the fight right out of them.


The Mayor should be required to attend K-9 School and see that these fine patrol dogs are not the problem. Control of the events at a K-9 scene is strictly up to the person.  If he wants a fight he shall have it.  If he wants to go quietly that works also.  All [this mayor] is doing is taking the teeth out of Law Enforcement.  Maybe Obama can change it all for us.

PS call Jack or Dennis for an evaluation !!!!!

-PAPDK9 Retired.

This an on going battle between the mayor and the police department. Both the mayor and police chief were born and raised in Atlantic City. This is more about a power struggle and race relations within the city then anything else. The mayor wants to create a Director over both the police chief and fire chief. The police chief has appealed to the Attorney General and has threatened legal action against the mayor. Since the Director's job was put on hold the mayor struck back with removing the K-9 unit stating multiple complaints from the community. It is well known that the complaints have come from high crime, high drug sales areas of the city.

In the meantime the mayor puts every officer at risk, puts his own residents at risk and loses vital services that the k-9 unit provided. Additionally no mutual aide can be provided to the downbeach communities of Ventnor, Margate, Longport and Brigantine Beach. This has become the proverbial "I'll show you" political BS  and small town, small minded politics that is alive and well in Atlantic City. 

ANOTHER example of how politics is crushing the effectiveness, efficiency, and moral of our Law Enforcement professionals. These professionals, although not perfect, generally just want to do good by protecting and serving. However, once politics is involved, these professionals themselves are handcuffed by political decisions such as this one. But wait and see if a politician ever needs to call 911 for an emergency, see what occurs then!

As always, the upper echelon is bowing to the public, when they should be backing their officers. Same in my department.

If they mayor is going to send patrol officers out without the dogs that protect the public, then he should spend time on the streets with those same officers. Let the mayor spend a few nights in the hot zone in Atlantic City, and see how he likes it.

An appropriate request for an opinion by the Attorney Generals office would be in order.  It seems to me that this is not the first time that municipal officials in New Jersey have stepped outside of their bounds and that there is a clear chain of command from the officer, starting day one, up to the Attorney General regarding the action of law enforcement in the State of New Jersey. 

Ah Mayor Langford should be thankful the officer choose to sacrifice his own body to bring this suspect under control.  If a drunken martial artist Disarms a Law Enforcement officer and his his baton the police have the right to use DEADLY FORCE.  There are no is no doubt about it.  I am also a K-9 officer in New Jersey.  It's too bad the Mayor didn't have a death of a suspect on his hands from limiting the officers options.








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