Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fabulous Matching Luggage

In the beginning, there was Joe Santiago: A former Police Director in Newark where he'd risen through the ranks while currying favor with longtime Mayor, State Senator and erstwhile political heavyweight Sharpe James. Despite steady rumblings of questionable associates and less than exemplary behavior, Mr. Santiago was placed in charge of the NJ State Police. Alas, his tenure at the helm of that respected body was marked with accusations of rule bending and more inappropriate behaviors that eventually lead to his dismissal. Like a multi-lived feline, Mr. Santiago resurfaced in February 2003 as the Police Director in Trenton. None less than the esteemed (and since indicted) Mayor James came to the City Council advice and consent hearing to speak on behalf of Mr. Santiago.

A couple of years later, Retired Newark Police Captain Barry Colicelli was given a contract as a special consultant to Trenton Mayor Palmer. The contract appears to be very lucrative: a city police car at Mr. Colicelli's disposal; an office in City Hall with his name on the door; equipment and staff. Mr. Colicelli reportedly does other consulting work as well and may or may not use the City of Trenton supplied and paid for vehicle and gas to get to and from those jobs as well. Mr. Colicelli's credentials as an expert on Gangs have been questioned by skeptics and his financial difficulties have been documented.

Neither Mr. Santiago nor Mr. Colicelli, by the way, live in the City of Trenton. Certainly, the Police Director is supposed to, but all pretense at having a Trenton residence has been dropped by Mr. Santiago. Regardless of where they live, they seem to have been able to relieve themselves of the burden and drop their baggage at the door to City Hall

Now, in the latest round of accepting Newark Police Department cast-offs, the City of Trenton has announced that the new director of the Communications Division (aka "the radio room") will be one Irving Bradley. Mr. Bradley was the Newark Police Chief for two years after being appointed to the position by former Mayor Sharpe James. Bradley retired last year just before current Mayor, Cory Booker, took office.

As with Mr. Santiago and Mr. Colicelli, it seems as though Mr. Bradley comes well equipped with his own load of baggage. Seems as though Mr. Bradley had a little trouble back in 1998 when Rahway Police found him behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. Mr. Bradley tried to elude capture by the Police and assaulted an officer when ultimately caught and subdued.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that Mr. Bradley worked in the Newark Police Professional Standards office at the time of this incident. Move over Capt. Messina, you've got competition.

One has to wonder just how the City of Trenton seeks and screens candidates for these leadership positions. Are court records and allegations a requirement? Does a police record help?

Are there no other candidates out there other than retired Newark Police Officers?

Or maybe the Mayor is just trying to collect a complete set of matching luggage from all the baggage his appointees bring with them. I guess he needs it for all his clothes and his out sized ego.

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