Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 52
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
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Borough Passes Police Restructuring Ordinance, Looks Ahead to 2010

Dilshanie Perera

Last week the governing body voted unanimously that the Borough’s Police Chief will report to the Public Safety Committee comprised of the Mayor, Administrator, and two Council members, with police disciplinary matters to be handled by the Administrator.

At the meeting, the Borough also honored Peggy Karcher’s nine and a half years of service as an elected official on Council, and voted to allow Health Officer David Henry to extend his hours and schedule in order to act as interim head of the Trenton Health Department for four months, which will be in addition to fulfilling his duties as Princeton’s Health Officer.

“It has been my joy to serve on Princeton Borough Council,” Ms. Karcher remarked after Mayor Mildred Trotman thanked her for years of service, adding, “We’ve had our differences, but one of the most striking things is the highest level of civility, care, and politeness, regardless of particular agreements.”

Thanking her mentor, former Mayor Marvin Reed, who was in the audience, Ms. Karcher expressed her gratitude to the Mayor and other members of Council, as well as the staff and Police Chief David Dudeck.

In his monthly report to Council, Chief Dudeck looked ahead to the upcoming year, noting that he and Township Police Chief Mark Emann have already met with staff at Princeton University, as well as the Superintendent of Princeton Regional Schools.

“Interdepartmentally, all of the recommendations and policies have been corrected by us,” Chief Dudeck said of recent changes. “I’d like to take it one step further … we need to go back and become accredited again.”

Accreditation would make policies and procedures within the department more transparent, Chief Dudeck said, suggesting the use of new software to expedite the process. The Township is accredited and uses the software, he noted.

“I would hope that in the new year, the Public Safety Committee would take up the issue of accreditation, but I don’t think we need to be on the cutting edge of costs,” Council member Roger Martindell asserted.

Council member Kevin Wilkes responded that “Princeton Borough was one of the first [to become accredited], and it might be a gain to be on par with Princeton Township instead of lagging behind.”

Ms. Karcher urged Chief Dudeck to discuss the issue of underage drinking on campus with eating club presidents, who are appointed in February. Council member David Goldfarb suggested inviting them to a Borough meeting. “We should share the real concern, which is the health and safety of everybody in Princeton. The status quo is not acceptable. It is not safe, and it can be made safer, and we can help to do so,” he said.

During the meeting, Council members also expressed concern prior to passing a limited shared services agreement between the Borough and the City of Trenton’s Division of Health and Human Services. Mr. Henry assured Council that there would be “no lessening of my time serving the Borough and the Township,” adding that many health departments throughout the state incorporate multiple municipalities.

Under the agreement, Mr. Henry would be paid up to $30,000 for an extra 10 to 15 hours of work per week as the health officer in Trenton, from January 4 through April 30, 2010. He characterized his main duties there as policy development and evaluation.

Borough Administrator Bob Bruschi noted that he “would not like to see this go beyond five months. We are doing this as a professional courtesy.”

Mr. Henry said that since public health efforts regarding the H1N1 flu are winding down, acting as the temporary head of Trenton’s health department should not be a burden. Assuring Council that he would not seek out the position of permanent Health Officer in Trenton, Mr. Henry said, “I love my job in Princeton.”

In other news, Mr. Goldfarb brought up the issue of snow on the sidewalks, saying that “the snow has to be shoveled for the benefit of every business downtown.” The only way to successfully ensure this is creating a Special Improvement District (SID) for the Central Business District, he suggested.

“We should just bite the bullet and do it,” Mr. Goldfarb said.

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