Posted on

Bergen executive candidates debate policing merger issue, fate of medical center


Bergen County Sheriff’s department highest-paid sheriff’s department in the country?

Bergen executive candidates debate policing merger issue, fate of medical center

OCTOBER 21, 2014, 11:01 PM    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2014, 11:05 PM

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan and Democratic challenger James Tedesco clashed over law enforcement, lawsuits and the future of Bergen Regional Medical Center in their final debate just two weeks before Election Day.

Before a capacity crowd of 150 people packed into the freeholder chambers in Hackensack, Tedesco, a Democratic freeholder, criticized Donovan for opposing a freeholder plan to combine the Sheriff’s Office and the County Police into one mega-department under the command of the sheriff.

“If the County Executive is so bent on shared services, why aren’t we realigning the County Police and the Sheriff’s Department?” he asked. “She wants it her way or no way. She wants Donovan’s army.”

Donovan, a Rutherford Republican seeking a second four-year term, argued that it makes no sense to put an elected sheriff in charge of a police department.

“Never put a politician in charge of a police department,” she said, drawing a murmur from a large group of sheriff’s officers in the crowd. “The sheriff, no disrespect, but he’s a politician, as am I, as is Freeholder Tedesco.”

Tedesco claims that the Democrats’ plan to meld the forces would save taxpayers $90 million to $200 million during the next 25 years through attrition as higher-paid County Police officers retired and were not replaced.

– See more at: