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Edison Township Council Raises the Bar for Police Hiring and Promotions

The Altenative Press Staff

Thursday, May 1, 2014 • 2:00pm

EDISON, NJ — Strict new standards for Police Department hiring and promotions were introduced by the Edison Township Council Wednesday evening.

The 20-page ordinance was a culmination of a series of fact-finding meetings between the council’s Public Safety Committee, comprised of Council President Robert Karabinchak, Councilmen Michael Lombardi and Alvaro Gomez with Mayor Lankey, labor attorney Allan C. Roth, Police Chief Bryan, Deputy Police Chief Mark Anderko, PBA Local 75 president Officer Salvatore Della Fave, Superior Officers Association president Captain Bruce Polkowitz and it received input from Officer Jeffrey Diakunczak and Detective Lisa Cimmino.

“Our new ordinance provides a highly structured, professional approach to Police Department hiring and promotions,” said Mayor Thomas Lankey. “Independently-administered written tests and a more rigorous interview process will help us safeguard against outside interference or internal preferential treatment.”

The 20-page ordinance would, among other things, require:

• Closer scrutiny of employment history and conduct for police recruits and applicants seeking promotions.
• Police recruits to have an unblemished conduct record in addition to higher education, honorable military experience, and/or previous law enforcement experience.
• Successful completion of written tests – administered by an accredited independent testing agency – for promotion to police sergeant, lieutenant and captain.
• Strict confidentiality throughout the testing and interview process to ensure its integrity and prevent favoritism.
• Creation of a review panel that will conduct oral interviews for new recruits and promotion applicants to prevent the potential for prejudicial treatment and conflicts of interest.

Police Chief Thomas Bryan said, “I am pleased this ordinance – the result of a collaborative process and a candid dialogue – makes vital and constructive changes that will enable our police department to move forward with hiring and promotions.”

“Edison’s goal was to create a fair, impartial process,” Council President Robert Karabinchak said. “These are responsible, proactive changes that will help to eliminate outside meddling, favoritism, nepotism and conflicts-of-interest from the hiring and promotion equation.”

Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey, who approved the concept of this ordinance said, “Having this ordinance in place will allow Edison officials to hire and promote officers based upon the training and qualification of applicants, and it will serve to minimize political influence.”

The Township Council will hold a public hearing and final vote on the new police ordinance at the May 14 meeting.

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