The Mayor and his well-paid North Jersey attorney want Judge Feinberg and the residents of Trenton to believe that if Joe Santiago is ordered to vacate his office immediately, the Capital City will be at grave risk of being overrun by the criminal element. Therefore, they argue, the termination of Joe Santiago's tenure as Trenton Police Director because of his non-resident status should be stayed pending an appeal or until an orderly transition of authority can be made.
Of course, the legal wheels on this residency issue have been grinding for a couple of months. Why haven't the city and police administrations made prior plans for this transition, "just in case?" Seems to me the inaction of our leadership has put the public safety at risk by not having succession planning in place.
And didn't we just go through this with Barry Colicelli case?
Just for the sake of argument, let's consider that the Mayor is correct and the city is at increased risk without the steady hand of Joe Santiago at the command of the Police Department. Attorney George Dougherty, who represented the citizens in their fight to have the residency ordinance upheld (and who is himself a Trenton resident), rightfully asks if the safety and security of Trentonian's was then compromised every time Mr. Santiago was absent from his desk due to illness, vacation, or just plain not being around.
Excellent point, of course.
And if we weren't "unsafe" enough, now comes the issue of the request for City Council to authorize an expenditure of $200,000 for new police firearms. Currently the city city uses Glock handguns. The proposed contract would be for new guns from Springfield Armory. Through a police spokesman, Santiago has said that City Council can opt not spend the $200,000 and go for the free, "inferior weapon" and intimated that doing so would be unsafe for the police as well as the public.
But with safety a concern, was the Police Director himself or a designated representative present at the City Council meeting to make the case for the switch?
Of course not.
So to sum up:
Trentonians are at risk if Joe Santiago is summarily and immediately dismissed as Police Director. There will be presumed chaos in a police department that functioned quite well (arguably better) for over 200 years prior to Santiago's appointment as Police Director. The public will be at risk.
Since his appointment five years ago Santiago has been at best a part-time city resident and for the last two or more years has made no pretense about living 50 plus miles away from Trenton. His frequent absences do not put the public at risk.
The city should spend $200,000 to change weapons for the police department when the current supplier will provide new guns free of charge. Saving money by staying with an alleged "inferior" weapon* puts the police and the public at risk.
The police director has no problem if City Council decides to keep the "inferior" weapon, but he couldn't be bothered to attend the meeting and make his case for the allegedly safer choice.
Does this mean that the public is again at risk, but the Director doesn't care enough to make his case for minimizing that risk?
Through all of the contradiction and confusion one thing is clear, Joe Santiago is not interested in serving the people of the City of Trenton any more than he is interested in living here.
Guess it is just time for him to go. Now.
We did a quick Google search and came up with this discussion thread that concluded there is no real difference between the two weapons under consideration. And the cops we've checked with seem to agree. Why spend the money for something that is essentially the same as the no cost option?