October 7, 2020

Police Department Promotions Among Actions Approved At Princeton Council Meeting

By Anne Leivn

The appointment of Christopher Morgan as new chief of the Princeton Police Department was approved by Princeton Council at its September 30 meeting. Morgan has been captain of the department since 2019. He replaces longtime Chief Nick Sutter, who retired October 1.

Former Lieutenant Jon Bucchere was named as the new captain. Matthew Solova was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant, James Martinez from corporal to sergeant, Christopher Craven from patrolman to sergeant, Craig Humble from patrolman to corporal, and Luis Navas from detective to corporal.

Morgan spoke to Council about his vision for the department, the development of which he credited to Sutter. “This philosophy and approach to policing in Princeton will remain the same as we advance into a new era,” he said. “But as we look forward, there are several areas we must address.”

Most imperative is filling supervisory positions made vacant by recent and impending retirements. “We want to start the recruiting process,” Morgan said.

Officers have received body-worn cameras, he reported. In the next few months, the department will receive implicit bias training and will reach out to community partners for input. Morgan also provided details on additional initiatives. “The police department is very healthy,” he said. “We want to be the best we can be and serve the community in the most positive and effective way we can.”

Morgan graduated in 1998 from the Trenton Police Academy. He is a graduate of the College of New Jersey and has a master’s degree from Seton Hall University. He also attended the Federal Bureau of Investigations Law Enforcement Development Seminar, and is a graduate of Session 239 of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He was acting chief of the former Princeton Township Police Department before the consolidation of the former Borough and Township.

Bucchere graduated in 1999 from the New Jersey State Police Academy and the College of New Jersey. He was named sergeant in 2007, and lieutenant in 2016. Before being named captain, he served as patrol commander.

The Council meeting began with a moment of silence in memory of Stephanie
Chorney, who died on September 29. A pediatrician and advocate for the health and well-being of students in Princeton Public Schools, Chorney was described by Mayor Liz Lempert as “a tireless and passionate community activist. She did so much for the community, and it’s a better place because of her.”

Council unanimously approved a resolution for the Community Development Block Grant Program. The municipality’s population level, increased due to the consolidation of the former Township and Borough, has made it eligible for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) annual grants, which are focused on providing decent housing in a suitable living environment, consultant Marc Leckington told the governing body. “You joined at a good time,” he said, referring to money now available not just in HUD funds, but under the CARES act for projects related to COVID-19. The grants must primarily benefit low and moderate income people.

Princeton was notified by HUD in September 2019 that it qualifies as a “metropolitan city” based on population estimates, and was invited to become an “entitlement community” beginning in 2020.

Following a focus group held in July, a draft set of projects was put together. Two public hearings have also been held, and a consolidated plan was made public last week.