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.
Click to enlargePolice 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 At the time, Riley said the division's policies and procedures were out of date and the division "was going through some things now" that wouldn't have happened if policies were in place.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.