Independence police chief suspended

UPDATE: The Warren County prosecutor confirmed that his office is investigating a Feb. 10 car accident involving the police chief, separate from the 2017 pursuit. The post below has been updated to reflect this new information. For two hours one m...

No comments? I would have thought a lot of people would have something to say about this.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
March 23rd

What can one say? There is an active investigation being conducted regarding two separate incidents with the man. Once the investigation is complete and the facts are made public then an informed opinion or intelligent comment can be made. Until then it would be nothing more than hearsay and or wild speculation in my opinion.

Huh. Sounds familiar...LMAO

Not really enough information to have an opinion

There really isn't anything anyone can say, we don't have all the facts. The article is vague about both situations. I just don't think it's fair for anyone to jump to conclusions.

Mommyof3 Mommyof3
March 23rd

Sure hope it's not small town politics at play here.

Indy Res
March 23rd

Sounds expensive for the taxpayers - whichever way it goes...

I mean that police chase was bordering on the absurd...the guy they were chasing was doing like 25 mph...back to Scrub a Dub...there has to be other stuff going on.

I fully support our Independence Police Chief unto it had been proven otherwise!

Retired Retired
March 24th

Ya gotta does one get caught for "life threatening" decisions during a high speed (up to 70mph) chase. I mean is 70 really that fast? Did someone get offended and call it in? Did the perp complain?

And remember, it's decisions, not decision...…

Give the guy a medal. He obviously scarred the pants of the perp who gave himself up with a phone call rather than face more chase :>)

strangerdanger strangerdanger
March 24th

70mph is pretty fast in Independence Township, which is mostly woods

The article doesn't say what the Chief is accused of. It could very well be politics.

Roi de Grimaces Roi de Grimaces
March 25th

Roi...That's because they picked his replacement before they picked his crime.

Justamazed Justamazed
March 25th

I don't know anything about this, embarrassed to admit I didn't even know the name of our police chief, but I can say, with absolute certainty, small-town politics can be a nasty business.

Lonesome Dove Lonesome Dove
March 26th

WRNJ has been following/covering this story closely. New updates today:

Looks like this story has legs and is going out for a run.

callitlikeIseeit callitlikeIseeit
3 weeks ago

Since there was no test administered, hard to see what they can possibly do about this. The officers involved would have to throw him under the bus for anything to be done.

Yes, seems rather fishy. Also, wondering why Independence Municipal Court owns a Tahoe.

Lonesome Dove Lonesome Dove
3 weeks ago

Independence Police Dept has the Tahoe in which the Chief drives.

Seems like all 3 police officers might be in trouble by the last article WRNJ posted up!

Unrelated, but interesting nonetheless.

dodgebaal dodgebaal
3 weeks ago

Interesting article. wow. But how does the chase fit in? i was driving by the car wash that day when the guy surrendered, and there was a helicopter hovering overhead.

Reggie Voter Reggie Voter
3 weeks ago

The chase fits in because it shows a pattern of someone not using proper judgement or leadership. Just guessing.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
3 weeks ago

Karma will get ya every time
And for the other officers they should be fired also! If they are hiding that I’m sure there is much more. I hope they dig into this much more and make the right decision. And for chief to even put his “guys” on the line like that shows what kind of guy he is, not a leader at all! Shame on u “Chief”

Just how it izz Just how it izz
3 weeks ago

Ditto > Just how it izz---- Kinda like pulling a grenade pin, dropping it and instead of throwing yourself on it, you take a couple of your buddy's and push them on it. Shouldn't have happened at all, but since it seems it did, take responsibility for it.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
3 weeks ago

Does the Chief get to use the Town's vehicle 24/7/365? If not, what was he doing driving it at 2:00am, coincidentally the time Bars in NJ close.

Yes I believe he does and I believe it’s only for him and not his family, I saw him several times dropping his kid off at daycare in that Tahoe. And there are the tax payers still paying for him to do nothing!! He needs to be on leave with no pay until they finish there investigation. Or when he gets fired he should have to pay the town back all that pay! It’s just not fair that he thinks he is above the law. He should take it like a man like I’m sure all the dui he has given. The tax payers should not have to pay for the repairs to the car either, should have to come out of his pocket.

Just how it izz Just how it izz
3 weeks ago

Seems clear.(Allegedly) he was half in the bag drove an official vehicle into a guard rail then his subordinates essentially covered it up in part. The hammer should come down on the whole lot.

Well, that would explain how he gets caught...…….

Yes, throw them all out. Where's Frank Reagan when you need him :>)

strangerdanger strangerdanger
3 weeks ago

Independence township is advertising "spring clean-up" on April 27/28 might be a good time to check their own house......

Frank Reagan, definitely!!

lawabidingcitizen lawabidingcitizen
3 weeks ago

I'm happy we have our own PD in Independence unlike the other towns who have to wait for the State Police to handle problems. If true how does his dropping off his kids affect anybody?

Raymond Zienowicz Raymond Zienowicz
3 weeks ago

You happy with the high taxes? Wait for the State Police? These guys rock...

We had State patrol when our police weren't on 24 hours. I didn't have a problem with them patrolling.
As tax payers we all feel that the police vehicles should not be used for personal use ie taking your kid to day care, or using it to go somewhere out of town drink and get into an accident.

Maybe Independence Township will see a large turnout of residents at the next town meeting to discuss these accusations..

JrzyGirl88 JrzyGirl88
3 weeks ago

I doubt it JrzyGirl, I bet most of them are unaware of this. So sad but true.

Next town council meeting is Tuesday April 9,2019 at 7:00 P.M.

So is the allegation that he wrecked one vehicle and then led a dangerous chase later while impaired?

So sad to see all the rude and nasty comments on this post - this society is becoming so sick. I know Chief Keith Aiello and family - they are an awesome couple who have helped so many people in the past.
Chief Aiello is a HERO;
As all the police officers they put their lives in danger every day so we can feel safe and sleep well.
He is a veteran/soldier who fought for our country so we again could feel safe
He caught a criminal before that criminal could hurt anyone else
Yet this society wants to tear this man apart - How sad and disgusting for the town officials to do this to any employee!!! and how very sad we have so many people who feel they have to make disgusting comments!
God Bless you Chief Keith - stay strong!!

How dare some citizens suggest any public employee, or any person for that matter be above the law. There are a lot of people who have served, performed stoicly in their past but then went on to commit crimes. When caught, they have to face the music, as I am sure their past service or character factors into the sentence.

If the allegations of driving under the influence and having a MVA are found to be true, I would hope that the penalties for doing so are levied fairly and swiftly, as with any other citizen. Some could make the case that the penalties should be more severe due to the fact of his position and the oath that he has taken.

Time will tell what and if he did anything. If he did do the crime, he should pay, regardless of past service.

3 weeks ago

Thank you Animal Lover, you just proved my point!!

Wow sosad you sound like his mother with that resounding endorsement for his Sainthood! LOL. Just joking around.

Honestly I don't see any terribly "rude and nasty comments on this post". For the most part folks are stating he is not above the law nor should he be treated any differently than any person who breaks a law regardless of his past service to our country. That does not give one a free pass.

"He caught a criminal before that criminal could hurt anyone else".- True but if he endangered others by not following proper protocols, then perhaps his decision making was less than optimal. Lets face how many chases do these guys get involved in around here? Public safety should always come first. I'm sure the investigation will determine if he acted properly.

"As all the police officers they put their lives in danger every day so we can feel safe and sleep well"' - I agree except I would not feel safe at all knowing a policeman (or anyone) is driving a 5500 pound vehicle impaired on the rural roads of our community.

"Yet this society wants to tear this man apart - How sad and disgusting for the town officials to do this to any employee!!! and how very sad we have so many people who feel they have to make disgusting comments!"- I think society is a bit strong. It's a few locals on a local forum having a discussion about a public figure in a high position of authority who is being investigated for two incidents. In addition, the town officials are not doing anything to an employee. They are carrying out their fiduciary duty as they need to. If these allegations are true he will be held accountable and pay the price. If not, good for him and he will be exonerated.

I don't think people are judging his entire life based on these allegations. He could be a great guy who simply made a few mistakes. We shall see when the investigation into these allegations is completed.

Blue Bloods: Devil's Breath episode: "An off duty cop who was drinking comes across a robbery and stops it. Later Jamie shows up and smells that he's been drinking and tries to help him with some breath mints but the Captain sees what he's doing and orders that the cop be tested. And when he comes out positive, he has to face a hearing. Frank who admires what he did, but believes in following the rules."

Of course, innocent until proven, investigation needs to complete, but the law is the law.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
3 weeks ago

"He caught a criminal before that criminal could hurt anyone else".

Let's be honest here, he did not catch the criminal in the car chase. A Hackettstown police officer involved in the chase got the driver's cell number, called him during the chase and convinced the guy to pull over and end the chase. He's the one responsible for the catching of this criminal.

move already move already
3 weeks ago

Nope..not his Mom - don't know her. But do know Keith and the good things he has done for our community.

How many chases do these guys get involved in around here? Lets not forget Trooper Gonzalez:
"Trooper Gonzalez of the New Jersey State Police was shot and killed at 1725 hours while chasing a burglary suspect in Independence Township."

They put their lives in danger EVERY day.

No one is disputing he may do good things for the community. What is being discussed is two separate incidents that are under investigation that may or may not have consequences for him.

I'm not sure what bringing up a chase from 1997- 22 years ago has to do with anything we are discussing here. I was stating that police pursuits in this area are rare and perhaps the officer in question was not accustomed to the standard protocols in such a pursuit. As an aside, I knew Scott and that was an awful day but again completely unrelated to the subject at hand.

In addition, no one is stating police don't accept and live with a higher level of danger when choosing to be a law enforcement officer. That still does not equate to the right to break, bend or simply ignore any laws, policy's, etc. in place.

@sosad:so should they be allowed to drive drunk and crash their vehicles due to all of the work they have done in the past?

What if he crashed into my family instead of a guardrail? At what point does he become a criminal?

Sorry, no special deals. Drunk driving is not safe, no matter who is doing the driving. Have no sympathy for people who dont care about my families safety. If he did it, he should be removed from the road and his job. Just like I would be.

3 weeks ago

considering how people bash some (like teachers) on this forum, the comments here are downright loving

My son was with an off duty police officer friend of his running an errand. The friend was driving while drinking a beer. He was far from being intoxicated, but was driving while openly holding and drinking a bottle of beer. He said he wouldn't get in trouble, he was a cop and this was his town. My son asked him to stop the car and let him out. He said I'm not a cop and this isn't my town and I don't want to go to jail!! Some (I did say SOME not all) police officers believe the law doesn't apply to them. I regularly see Hackettstown police driving around town holding and talking on their cell phones. If someone else did that, it would be a ticket for sure.

Parental Unit Parental Unit
3 weeks ago

Unfortunately, and far to often, cops apply the rule of law to the letter when dealing with the general public and a whole other set of rules when it comes to policing their own.

I have a friend who is a NYS trooper. He owns a C5 corvette and routinely does 140-150 mph on public roads. The thought of getting in trouble doesn’t even cross his mind.

2 weeks ago

I know Chief Kieth and his family as well, but what he and his fellow police officers did should not be swept away by any means. I cannot reveal how I was given the following information, though I can say it came from a trusted individual close to the Independence police force.

On the night of the incident, the car following the chief was an off-duty EMS worker. S/he recognized the signs of someone driving under the influence and called to report it. It wasn't until the officers from Independence arrived and pulled over the vehicle that they realized the driver was their own Chief Kieth. Upon this realization and seeing that he was indeed intoxicated, the officers turned off their body cameras. They drove the chief home and then returned to drive his vehicle home.

As for what happened after that and how it may have been documented, I do not have the slightest idea. I believe it is crucial for the public to understand what actually occurred that night though before trying to stand up for people who clearly did wrong. No one is above the law.

"Upon this realization and seeing that he was indeed intoxicated, the officers turned off their body cameras."

And if this is proven true- they should be immediately fired, jailed, and fined.

Complete loss of any benefits whatsoever and permanently barred from any future law enforcement position.

Guilty of multiple crimes. Biased. Unfit for duty.

The entire point of the cameras is pointless if they are able to be turned off.

Independence pd do not have body cameras...they do have car mounted cameras

1 day ago

Can anyone list the sources for their info? Josh is right if that was the case. Also if they turned off their dash cams or tilted it in a way.

Yesimpc Yesimpc
1 day ago

It has been talked about widely in the Township and Anon’s account is close to what I have heard.

The fact that it was reported to Warren county dispatch and the plate was a township vehicle is why it is didn’t go away.

The prosecutor has to deal with the chase charge and this charge, and the chase charge is contested, this charge is still being investigated.

1 day ago

Re: Independence police chief suspended

"The fact that it was reported to Warren county dispatch and the plate was a township vehicle is why it is didn’t go away."

Agreed 1000% percent.

Also Independence PD's dash cams should go off once the overheads are turned off. The dash cam is activated when the overhead "you're getting pulled over" lights are activated. It's possible there may be a manual setting to turn the dash cam on without the overhead lights being activated I'm not yet aware of as is the case with some NJSP Troop cars. I've been dead for almost the last 20 years so please bear with me.
As Timmy correctly mentioned, Independence Twp PD currently does not equip their officers with "BWV"....body worn video.

Remember the ghost of Frank Luger around here always tells it like it is...

Frank Luger
1 day ago

If Anon is correct with his statement, driving the chief back home is ridiculous. I was driven right to the police station when I got pulled over for “acting/driving” after been drinking. Exactly where the chief should have gone too. He’s a human and yes humans make mistakes, but we need to be treated equally. If all police officer were kind enough to take drunk drivers home, the works would be a great place!

1 day ago

"And if this is proven true- they should be immediately fired, jailed, and fined."

can you actually cite the law that could put them in jail?

Of course this is rumor mill chatter but I understand there is most definitely dash cam footage related to this incident.

Frank Luger, the picture you attached looks like the late actor James Gregory.

That is a photo of James Gregory.

Frank Luger was a character on Barney Miller played by James Gregory.

What do you think of this?
The state Supreme Court's ruling that police do not need to release dashcam videos relating to criminal investigations — unless an officer uses deadly force — means local and state departments will likely be allowed to hide from the public what might be the only videos of potentially explosive incidents.

The split ruling, issued Monday, declared the public has no right under state law to review such videos to determine for itself if a police officer acted appropriately during, say, a high-speed chase or a rough-and-tumble handcuffing.

dodgebaal dodgebaal
1 day ago

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