Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 40
 
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
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Emann, Township Want Quick Resolution

Ellen Gilbert

“I’m doing as well as can be expected,” said suspended Princeton Township Chief of Police Mark Emann in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Mr. Emann, Lt. Michael Henderson, and Cpl. Arthur Villaruz were suspended from their posts late last week for allegedly selling Township property. An investigation is being conducted by Mercer County Prosecutor Joe Bocchini. Chief William Straniero has been designated as the Prosecutor’s Office representative in charge of the management of the Township Police Department.

“I’m cooperating with the Prosecutors office,” added Mr. Emann. “I want a quick resolution for my department.”

“The supersession of the Princeton Township Police Department was done in accordance with administrative authority vested in the County Prosecutor,” said an October 1 release from Township Administrator Jim Pascale’s office.

“This is not a very pleasant item,” said Township Mayor Bernie Miller as he began his comments about the situation at Monday evening’s Township Committee meeting.

“Over the weekend the Township was the recipient of some publicity that we did not welcome,” Mr. Miller continued. “It stems from the fact that early on the morning of Friday, October first, we were officially informed that the Mercer County Prosecutors Office would be taking control of the Township Police Department. We were informed that Chief Mark Emann, Lt. Michael Henderson, and Cpl. Arthur Villaruz were being suspended, subject to an investigation of allegations regarding sale of Princeton Township property.”

“The County Prosecutor’s Internal Affairs unit, which is conducting the investigation has not disclosed any information about the alleged property or dates involved,” he added. “Our staff and elected officials have met with representatives of the prosecutor’s office; we’ve emphasized the need to complete the investigation as quickly as possible and make their results available to everyone.”

“I want all of our residents to be assured that our police department will continue to provide the highest level of service,” Mr. Miller concluded. “We’re proud of our department; they’re very professional.”

Mr. Pascale’s press release noted that “Princeton Township can make no further comment concerning this matter until the investigation is complete.”

As of Tuesday, the Princeton Township Police website (www.princetontwp.org/policemain.html) still showed Mark V. Emann as Chief of Police. A 32-year veteran of the Township Police, Mr. Emann has been Chief since 2007. His father, Ptl. Walter Emann, served in the Township force from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s, overlapping briefly with his son. In a March 2006 interview Mr. Emann described how much he had learned from his father. “It was neat working with him,” he reported. “I never worked side-by-side with him, but it was fun.”

“There’s really nothing going on,” said Robert Ramsey, Mr. Emann’s Hamilton-based attorney. “The Prosecutor is working on the investigation. Let’s see where it goes.”

“I don’t think this is going to take very long at all,” said Mr. Ramsey in response to a question about the duration of the investigation.

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