Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Commentary on Police Accreditation

The City Council approved a contract in March 2014 for the Police Division to become accredited, meaning it has demonstrated adherence to the highest standards of law enforcement. The process is now 90 percent complete.The contract cost was $86,342, to be paid entirely out of the city's forfeiture account with the approval of the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

On Monday, Councilwoman Gloria Taylor tried to get the council to endorse a resolution to hire an attorney to conduct an investigation of the Police Division for $20,000 and to produce a full investigatory report in 28 days. Given the scope of the investigation as listed in the resolution, it would be a small miracle to complete it in four weeks.
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Police Director Carl Riley's reason for pursuing accreditation was "so we don't end up in the paper." At the time, Riley said the division's policies and procedures were out of date and the division "was going through some things now" that wouldn't have happened if policies were in place.

Taylor's reason for investigating the Police Division, as stated in the proposed resolution, is that "recent personnel decisions have called into question the fairness of disciplinary procedures at the Plainfield Police Division." This appears to hark back to the controversy over Police Lt. Ken Reid, much of which consisted of emotional testimonies on his behalf even though the facts of the internal investigation could not legally be revealed to the public. Supporters said Reid was facing a choice between demotion or retirement, but it was basically hearsay, because officials could not speak about the matter. In a March meeting, Mayor Adrian O. Mapp said five officers were involved, three white and two black, which countered Taylor's allegation that Reid, who is black, was racially targeted. Still, a council majority declined to pass a resolution in support of the Police Division.

On Monday, Taylor complained that there are "no black captains, no black lieutenants." Over the 30 years that I have covered Plainfield, there have been many outstanding black captains and lieutenants. But they have not attained their titles by fiat, they had to study, wait for tests (according to the NJ Civil Service Commission, tests for police lieutenant and police captain are tentatively scheduled for October 2016) and pass them  before rising through the ranks. If there are none right now, be assured that there will be black lieutenants and captains in the future.

Taylor's drama Monday was not spontaneous. Her video chronicler, Rev. Zechariah Jackson, set up a camera trained on her, no doubt for later use on YouTube. Jackson came to the microphone to talk about his extensive video archives, which happen to include Taylor's Third Ward political campaigns, among others. Her term ends on Dec. 31. Dan surmises that she may be promoting former Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs as her successor for the Third Ward seat in November. Could be. Reid was the former mayor's bodyguard and dear friend, whom she named lieutenant on her way out of office in 2013. If elected to succeed Taylor, she could take up the cudgels against Riley and Mapp that Taylor will have to relinquish.



  1. In Taylor's proposed resolution, she says the purpose, among other things is to “review…police training manuals…review all police division methodology and procedures, review internal affairs data…” What is her expertise in terms of reviewing police training manuals, methodology and procedure? How can internal affairs data be reviewed by people like her and the groups she has listed? In addition to the city council, she wants representatives from citywide block association, the NAACP (her pal Sharon?), Plainfield Clergy Organization, Angels for Action (her pal Carmen?), SID, Chamber of Commerce (her pal Jeff Dunn?) and POP to be reviewing this data. Does anyone else have a problem with these people reviewing internal affairs data? She has no idea what she is doing and that was made very clear at the meeting. Also, when she was demanding to know who was on the council's economic development committee, she was face-planted when it was announced that SHE was on that committee. The cops see through her nonsense as did the audience members who just shook their heads in disgust.

  2. Maybe if Taylor actually went to some of the promotion ceremonies and actual community events, she would know the facts, what about Lt Lisa Burgess, Lt Williams, Lt Venson? They are black. She has no clue about anything and doesn't bother to show up for anything. Her pal Sharon was the one who cut back on the number of captains forcing Capt El-Amin, who is black, to retire or be demoted. Nary a word from Taylor. She doesn't bother to show up for council meetings half the time and then she shows up and talks without knowing any facts. Let's pray for December 31 to come so we can be rid of her.

  3. I have been told by knowledgeable people that Mrs. Taylor drove a city car she had no right to during her husband's tenure in office. If that is true, then we have something to investigate. As Taylor pays no taxes, she could well afford to pay the city back.

  4. Taylor is the one who should be investigated. She already has a lawyer she wants to hire - what's going on here!