I thought things would calm down and get back to a semi-normal standard operating procedure (whatever that is) in the city of Trenton after some members of the worst and most dysfunctional City Council in the state were kicked out—I mean, voted out–late last year; yet, a new scandal has emerged.

Some members of the Trenton Police Department (TPD) are accused of stealing from the already scarce financial coffers in Trenton. In egregious examples of people–public servants no less–getting caught with their big, fat greedy hands in a tiny cookie jar, five members of the TPD are under investigation for falsifying payroll records and stealing overtime. Some officers have or will retire soon, and the alleged illicit activity could affect the amount of their pension benefits. 

Add to the mix, a park ranger in Mercer County (Trenton) was charged with theft by deception and official misconduct for lying about when, where, and how long he worked. In some cases, he was at home or somewhere else when he was supposed to be on park patrol. To make matters worse, at least two of the law enforcement officials named in the other investigation have annual salaries at or near $200,000–a wage most Trentonians and anyone else would relish, as they could live quite comfortably in the capital city. The word GREEDY, GREEDY, GREEDY immediately comes to mind.

After stories about the alleged thefts, swindling and lying appeared in the city’s local newspaper, the Trentonian, and posted on the popular local website Trenton Orbit, the TPD issued a hastily written response earlier this week to address and clarify the allegations to local media outlets, including NJ Urban News. The statement read, in part, that several officers are being investigated for misrepresenting time and payroll records and that the matter was referred to the Mercer County Prosecutors Office and the Attorney General. However, “the case was referred back to the TPD to handle administratively.” The statement also attempted to shift blame for sloppy mismanagement from the TPD to another department about who, how, and when pension benefits are awarded to recipients. In other words, the lack of administrative oversight and responsibility is, “somebody else’s fault!”  

Trenton Orbit

On a much-needed positive note, City Council member Jasi Edwards issued a statement regarding the debacle via the Trenton Orbit website. She wrote, in part, “A couple of days ago, the council submitted a dozen questions or so {to the Trenton Police Department} to be asked and answered in which we were informed it was submitted to be answered with the investigation. I hold those that are sworn to uphold the law to a high standard, and they should not get away with anything if they’re guilty. This situation is disturbing….”

Big kudos to Edwards for quickly and boldly speaking out about the situation at the TPD and advocating for transparency, something the previous City Council seldom, if ever, advocated and rarely displayed.

As I’ve followed the recent chaos at the TPD, I was reminded of how in the city of Paterson, the police department was recently taken over by the state—due to a long history of corruption, abuse, illegality, and incompetency by the men in blue.

I wonder if the TPD is on the verge of the same fate as the Paterson Police Department? Given this recent scandal and a long history of bad behavior and other questionable and seedy activity throughout the department, a state takeover similar to that of the Paterson PD may be on the horizon for the Trenton PD….Stay tuned!

I'm an award winning journalist based in Edison, NJ. My work has been featured in dozens of publications including, Black Enterprise magazine; ESSENCE magazine and Real Health magazine. I am also a featured...

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