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Bergen Chiefs Oppose Edgewater Plan For Police Director

Oakland Police Chief Edward Kasper,  president of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association
Oakland Police Chief Edward Kasper, president of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association Photo Credit: Jean Jadevaia

EDGEWATER, N.J. -- Nine members of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association attended a meeting Tuesday night in Edgewater, where council members took the first steps toward hiring a civilian police director.

The Edgewater force already has an experienced leader in Police Chief William Skidmore, association members said.

The chiefs attended "to show our support in retaining the chief's position," said Oakland Police Chief Edward Kasper, the county association's president.

The association has stood united when other municipalities have tried giving a civilian leadership of police departments.

Such appointees become political, allowing governing bodies with no experience in such a critical area to micro-manage law enforcement professionals, they've argued.

More importantly, they say, a director can only conduct administrative chores -- managing a budget and scheduling, for instance.

He or she can't carry a gun, access criminal history or investigative information or even make a traffic stop.

Bergen County has had few police directors over the past few decades. No municipality in the county has had a police director since Hackensack's Michael Mordaga retired last year.

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