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...
http://www.nj.com/news/2019/03/a-police-chief-is-on-leave-as-a-life-threatening-2017-pursuit-is-investigated-his-attorney-calls-it-a-political-lynching.html

Bug3
Mar '19

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

Boobalaa Boobalaa
Mar '19

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

Nosila Nosila
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

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

Indy Res
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

Ya gotta wonder......how 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
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

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

Justamazed Justamazed
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

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

http://wrnjradio.com/news/2019/crash-report-alleges-independence-twp-chief-of-police-appeared-to-have-used-alcohol-on-night-of-crash/


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

callitlikeIseeit callitlikeIseeit
Mar '19

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.

Metsman Metsman
Mar '19

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

Lonesome Dove Lonesome Dove
Mar '19

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!

signs
Mar '19

Unrelated, but interesting nonetheless.

http://s.nj.com/M8TFPVK

dodgebaal dodgebaal
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

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

Boobalaa Boobalaa
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

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.

kb2755 kb2755
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

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
Mar '19

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
Apr '19

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
Apr '19

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

kb2755 kb2755
Apr '19

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

hammer hammer
Apr '19

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

Skippy Skippy
Apr '19

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!!

Sosad Sosad
Apr '19

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.

Animal_Lover_Always
Apr '19

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

sosad sosad
Apr '19

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
Apr '19

"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
Apr '19

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.

sosad sosad
Apr '19

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.

Animal_Lover_Always
Apr '19

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

ken e
Apr '19

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
Apr '19

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.

hammer hammer
Apr '19

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.

Consigliere
Apr '19

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.

Anon
Apr '19

"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

Timmy
Apr '19

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
Apr '19

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.

Timmy
Apr '19

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
Apr '19

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!

Justreadingby
Apr '19

"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.


Greg,
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.

https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2018/08/15/police-dashcam-nj-supreme-court-ruling-matters/987307002/

dodgebaal dodgebaal
Apr '19

The actions of this Chief show very weak ethics. Its not just that he drove a township vehicle while intoxicated, its also about allowing two of the men that work for him, assist with covering up the incident. I would think as head of his department he should be an example to those under him. If nothing came of his actions, how could he possibly supervise effectively when his employees were encouraged to assist him with breaking the law. Even if no one knew anything happened, the Chief and the two Patrolman know what happened. A lot of facets to this situation and all of them are bad.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
Apr '19

Not one -Chief is accused of-...in all the local and social media posts. Amazing how you can ruin a man's livelyhood, family and reputation with rumor and someone said someone heard....if found guilty so be it but if any of this story is found to be inaccurate?what are the chances they have the balls to apologize?

Justamazed Justamazed
Apr '19

There's nothing funny about this and if the chief is found Innocent I imagine he's got some lawsuits to file against the actual REAL media that reported this story . And if you think all media you don't agree with is fake then I can guess what channel you're watching all the time !

DeweyFoonduh DeweyFoonduh
Apr '19

If the accused is given the same due process as a Joe shmoe then I will be first to apologize. However I believe evidence has and will continue to be hidden from the general public as it has already been.

Yesimpc Yesimpc
Apr '19

This is an ugly situation. I have respect for the cops when they behave respectably, but you reap what you sow in this life. If they they behave dis-respectably they should not be surprised when they get treated the same way.

Decisions have consequences and the law ought to applied fairly and equitably unless of course the good folks of Indy have declared their town to be a 'sanctuary' town, lol. Then it'd be ok to do whatever.

GreyHawk GreyHawk
Apr '19

Video of Chief’s reckless actions during high speed chase on WRNJ website as well as hearing article.

Timmy
Apr '19

and I always liked Aiello, but this situation is bad, makes me miss Reilly more and more, can he be coaxed out of retirement?

GreyHawk GreyHawk
Apr '19

Holy Cow. That video is intense. Very close, near-accident at Kozimor's. State Police driver was extremely calm and professional. And they were certainly going much faster than 25 mph, as someone stated in an earlier post. Extremely dangerous to anyone on the road during that. Thank God no one got hurt.

Lonesome Dove Lonesome Dove
Apr '19

Link to WRNJ's most recent story on Aiello's disciplinary hearing and video of his participation in the 2017 pursuit: http://wrnjradio.com/news/2019/video-independence-pd-chief-violated-ag-guidelines-in-2017-pursuit/


So if the Indepenence vehicle is the one that joined the chase, that looks crazy. Unless the thief stole a person, you'll find him later. People are stupid, clearly, and generally get caught. I can't judge the situation really, as I do not know all the facts. It just looked scary when he passed and drove on the other side of the road.

maja2 maja2
May '19

Roscoe P. Coltrane
https://youtu.be/rW-lN1DFFCs?t=22

dodgebaal dodgebaal
May '19

All that risk over an outstanding theft warrant? The judge would probably let him go with just a new court date anyway.

I just happened to be going past the car wash when that guy surrendered. Tons of cop cars and a chopper overhead, but it seemed like a peaceful surrender.

Reggie Voter Reggie Voter
May '19

Heroes don't drink and drive. And driving like a nutcase through a residential area and endangering lives just to catch a thief (which isn't a capital crime) is ridiculous, especially when they can run the plate and catch up to the criminal later.

Don't defend criminal actions.

HackersShouldDie HackersShouldDie
May '19

How is driving drunk heroic? Lmao

DrinkDruver DrinkDruver
May '19

Why chase him at all in the cars? Just have the chopper see where he goes.


I watched the video .... I live in one of the areas where they were chasing that guy.... All I can say is lucky my son wasn’t on the road at the time, or any young drivers! That was crazy and totally uncalled for... They all should be suspended.. You see those police chases on Live PD... I was in shock watching that video. I never heard of those things happening around this area.

Havaclue Havaclue
May '19

and I always liked Aiello, but this situation is bad, makes me miss Reilly more and more, can he be coaxed out of retirement?
GreyHawk

Rielly pushed to make Aiello the Chief. You really want to chance another diaster for a Chief. I'd go with whoever is in charge now. He seems to be doing a good job.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
May '19

Yeah bring back the old chief , I mean a 95-100K government pension per year just isn't enough to get by on . After all only 2 people on the whole entire planet can do that job !

DeweyFoonduh DeweyFoonduh
May '19

bring back somebody, aiello is toast, he toasted himself and needs to go

GreyHawk GreyHawk
May '19

Save the Township some tax dollars and don't bring back the former Chief at all. Lt. Prell is in charge now, and seems like a stabilizing influence. Let him be the Chief. He is already there and knows the issues. We will save whatever they were going to pay Rielly and fill the gap left by Aiello, who I doubt will ever be coming back at this point.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
May '19

What about the two officers that participated in driving him home and covering up the DUI?

Reggie Voter Reggie Voter
May '19

Cops have a code... They don’t arrest other cops... It’s just the way it is... If it was you or me though, they wouldn’t be driving us home..

Havaclue Havaclue
May '19

Yes I agree Reggie Voter. I'm sure at the time the two Officers felt they were doing their Chief a favor. Its a shame the Chief led them down that road which makes his continued leadership impossible. But they are adults, and had to have known what they were doing was wrong regardless who was involved in the actual crash. Of course, nothing has been proved and determined to be true at this point. But IF it is true, I'm afraid the two Officers will face some penalties as well, whether it be suspension or
loss of their jobs.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
May '19

Now after seeing the 2017 pursuit video I can understand the concern.

Strike 1: Unannounced roadblock setup by Independence PD on Rt 46 WB almost at the top of Vienna Hill was not radioed to the lead agency in the chase at the time which was NJSP.

Strikes 2 & 3 : Overly aggressive boxing maneuver on Rt 46 into the oncoming traffic coming down a steep hill into an area where houses are close to the road along with a gas station with multiple gas pumps (Kozimors). I cringed when I saw this part of the video.

Lenny Rock Lenny Rock
May '19

If I remember correctly, Independence is a Civil Service participant. That means their hands are tied as to how to "fire" the chief and also procedures to fill the position, etc. There was discussion many years ago about withdrawing from State Civil Service, but I don't know if that was ever done.

Lonesome Dove Lonesome Dove
May '19

You punish these guys and leave them together and, IMO, you are creating a future mess. Clean house. Clean it quickly. Let these guys move on with the experience gained. No need to punish beyond that. Don't let this "cabal" remain intact as if just an minor infraction. whatever their reasons for doing the wrong thing.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
May '19

Boobala I totally agree to give Prell a chance, but we as Independence residents have been told that he still has 4 years of service before he can take the test.
I don't know how true that is


Sher, I believe he can take the test, he's been sergeant long enough, When Rielly was made Chief he only had the bare minimum of three years a Sergeant. Prell has much more than that in the Sergeants position. They should let him take the test now. When he passes the list will be good for three years and when a decision is made about Aiello, Prell will be able to step right in. If Aiello comes back, no harm done. I have a relative that deals with civil service all the time and pretty much knows the system. This whole mess will cost us a lot of money in attorneys no matter what way it goes. No sense in bringing back an additional Dept. head and adding that expense as well.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
May '19

But was he one of the guys that helped in the coverup?

Reggie Voter Reggie Voter
May '19

i'd like to suggest that any time independence pays for training or testing, we require the candidate spend time in our service, or they have to pay the money back.

ken e
May '19

Any testing fee that is associated with civil service is paid by the person taking the test. The Township doesn't do anything but ask civil service to be including on their next testing date. At least I am pretty sure the Township doesn't spend anything. Your tax dollars already pay civil service because its a state agency whether the town asks for a test or not.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
May '19

Looking it up if found guilty a civil service employee can appeal a termination if they think it's political in nature.The appeal process can take up to 2 years.Ain't that just wonderful?

DeweyFoonduh DeweyFoonduh
May '19

Yes he can appeal. He could also plead guilty to everything and say he has an alcohol problem and wants to go to a rehab. That could make him eligible to get his job back. There will be two hearings, One is for DWI or whatever he is charged with, and after that will be an administrative hearing to let the township decide what they want to do if found guilty. It will all be a long process, as said above, two years or more. Or it could all be done very quickly if Aiello just takes the best deal which I would imagine be something like retiring early and keeping whatever pension he has. If he doesn't do that, he runs the risk of losing everything, job and pension. Then there is the issue of the two other patrolmen who will also get two hearings. Its an expensive mess no matter what happens but it does have to be dealt with. In the meantime the Department needs a leader which is why I suggested Prell.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
May '19

he's jammed up the troopers are against him. hes going to need to retire.

he's never going to trial for 39:4-50. even if he did its not a crime in NJ it's a motor vehicle offense.

skippy skippy
May '19

I have a novel idea,let's disband the entire department and save millions of dollars!

hammer hammer
May '19

good idea, go back to using the state police, thats what they are there for

GreyHawk GreyHawk
May '19

Actually that's not what they are there for and for equivalent service, you would pay more......if you paid for it. And, I think, according to law, you would pay now although existing NJ localities that use them, and there are a number, don't pay. Daughtry used to floor a bill to change that every year, but never brought to vote. The law to cause payment in the future passed with no problem.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
May '19

I believe the only towns in the immediate area that still rely on round the clock NJSP services are Great Meadows, Liberty, Hope and White Twp's. When we first moved here to Oxford in 2009 we had Oxford police coverage during the day and NJSP coverage from like 11PM until 8AM in the morning I believe. Soon after the town did away with their own police force and entered into a contract with nearby Washington Twp (Warren County) for police services 24/7 that remains to this day. No complaints with their level of service to our Twp over the years but I'm sure we're paying through the nose for the coverage!

Calico I know you attend the town meetings regularly. Would you know the approx yearly contract cost to Oxford for Washington's police services? I thought I remembered reading awhile back 600K a year but I could be mistaken?

Lenny Rock Lenny Rock
May '19

Many municipalities in southern and north-western New Jersey lack local police departments The state police have the primary responsibility for providing police services to these towns for a yearly assessed nominal fee paid to the state.

this is what they do and why they are here

GreyHawk GreyHawk
May '19

economy of scale - regionalization of services

skippy skippy
May '19

Greyhawk

If a town has a population over 5k...they PAY for state police coverage...cheaper to go local

Bug3
May '19

I've lived in Independence a long time. When our PD was part time and the State Police were on it could take 45 min or more for them to respond. And there were incidents that occurred when things turned bad because of bad response time. I bet if you or yours needed Police help at 3AM, you'd be happy to have a local PD that could respond in a few minutes. The State Police do not respond to first aid or fire calls at all unless a crime occurs. We have many senior residents including myself that having an Officer come with O2 or other first aid equipment, will and has saved lives. I cant put a price on that. There is no reason we should have to spend extra money for a civilian leader to take over the dept. and no reason to keep everything up in the air as far as the Officers wondering who is in charge, or if they will have a job. Moral must be low now and I see no sense in making it worse. Why not try to fix the problem now, spending as little as possible and moving on.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
May '19

We couldn’t they enter into a mutual aid agreement with surrounding municipalities and secure that outcome?

Skippy Skippy
May '19

The fact remains that, if you can afford police, local are cheaper, closer, and more in-tune with the neighborhood.

If we really had to pay for state, our local dollars would have to fund state labs and all the other higher overheads coming with state-wide service.

State cover local, for the most part, where the density does not afford full time service.

StrangerDanger StrangerDanger
May '19

Oh Boobalaa! you made me laugh thinking about a fender bender on 46 where the Big O conducted the investigation in bib overall's with no t-shirt. Could only have been better if he drove a tractor to the seen.

Overall this post has venom and serves no one in a small community well. There's a reason they don't give jurors newspapers. Just cause they can make up horrible things on the Big city news to destroy people doesn't make it right. Once it's printed or said, it becomes the truth if repeated enough and we all know whose quote that is. Remember # 8! You know the one about bearing false witness. Plus that one bout throwing the first stone.

+1 for NJSP! We don't need more taxes or layers of government in Liberty, hence the name Liberty.

One-eyed Poacher One-eyed Poacher
May '19

the state police are good for this kind of work, its why they were formed in the first place

GreyHawk GreyHawk
May '19

I have lived in Independence since 1975. Back then, the department was 2 farmers, part-time policemen, with State Police providing coverage most of the time. The department was disbanded for a short time, but residents wanted local police, local coverage, so it was started up in early 1980's with a professional chief and 2 fully-trained officers. It did not offer 24 hour coverage for a few more years, but that is what residents wanted... local police, faster response times. I was on the Rescue Squad at the time, and it was great to have local police responding with us to vehicle accidents, fires, and other emergencies. The population was much smaller then. Over the years, many houses, retail establishments, streets, children, have been added, along with, invariably, crimes and more incidents. We created a police department, and as they say, you can't "un-ring that bell". Having a local police department should be an asset for any municipality. We should be able to be proud of ours and support them. Let's just work on putting this one back together.

Lonesome Dove Lonesome Dove
May '19

Very well said, Lonesome Dove..

joyful joyful
May '19

One day i was driving west on Route 46, listen to the police channel, and i heard chief Peterson on the radio asking another officer to come to his location, because he had pulled over a car but didn't have his ID with him. As I approached the scene, the chief was stepping out of his chief's car, with his gun tucked into his waistband in the back of his pants. Remember, he wasn't even carrying ID. Real cowboy stuff.

That was years ago and the small town cop attitude seems to still be present.

Have we yet learned the identities of the two officers that participated in the DUI coverup?

Reggie Voter Reggie Voter
May '19

So it's been a month. Has this gone anywhere? Can't seem to find anything or is it status quo where we all forget about it and he is reinstated?

younggen younggen
Jun '19

The scuttlebutt that I heard was that since he was driven home and there was no DUI test given there is no proof of his driving under the influence, therefore no consequence. He swerved to avoid hitting a deer or some explanation such as that to explain the damaged vehicle. I do want to emphasize this is not confirmed, but that is what I was told.

Parental Unit Parental Unit
Jun '19

I heard a while back a report on WRNJ, that the hearings weren't completed. They mentioned the next hearing would be this month but I simply don't recall the date.
As an aside, the Town official who was giving the interview spoke about the large expense to the taxpayers now that this hearing was going to continue and continue.


You don’t need a test to get convicted of a DUI.. you can get convicted based on “ “observation” only

H-town Mama H-town Mama
Jun '19

But there was obviously know one to "observe" besides the other police officers.

Forcefed4door Forcefed4door
Jun '19

I believe most area Police cars have dashcams in them. Might be something on that.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
Jun '19

Don't know about dash cam evidence , but a witness called the police when observing the unmarked Independence Police Chevy Tahoe vehicle bouncing of the guardrails on Cat Swamp Road coming from Pub 517 heading home to Cemetery Road . If this didn't happen his reckless actions in the car chase in 2017 probably would have been swept under the rug when he almost caused a head on collision by Kozimor's gas station . Watch the video and listen to the State Policeman declare Oh My God right around the 3:36 mark ! He is 2/3 over the center line forcing the car left , good thing the east bound driver was alert to avoid the head on collision !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hunjiNCTaY8

DeweyFoonduh DeweyFoonduh
Jun '19

WRNJ mentioned the status this morning. The next public hearing is set for early next week. This is the continuation of the cross examination portion of the proceeding.

The chief is still on administrative leave since March.

This is a link to the Resolutions stating such.

https://www.scribd.com/document/402775825/Independence-Township-police-chief-leave-suspension-resolutions


Sounds like Aiello's Lawyer is determined to take down the whole Dept. and everyone in it. Instead of Aiello standing up like a man he would rather make everyone else look bad. No win situation no matter how it goes. I couldn't imagine having to work for someone like that if he were to get his job back. He's lost all credibility and respect, clearly showing no matter what happens, its everyone else's fault. There is no ethics or morals with the person.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
Jun '19

According to Mayor Giordano, the hearing was postponed again today until August 4th.

No word as to why.


Tell the Warren County Prosecutor and the Mayor to get on with it. Let's get this cost sinkhole off our books now. Enough postponing.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jun '19

I was fined 100.00 dollars for my dog that was guilty of being of the leash and a 30.00 dollar court cost. with this type of security and protection that was sworn to be uphold. I feel so safe in the area because I now know that a dog owner can be caught and prosecuted for breaking the law in our town. now whats going on with the police chief and the guy that couldn't be caught in the police car chase through 3 (Three) towns.

ROBBY BABY ROBBY BABY
Jun '19

Typical Lawyer strategy , postpone as much as possible until everyone loses interest, then cut the best deal possible while no one is around. No doubt the Chief's Lawyer will be looking to dirty anyone in the Dept. he can to deflect away from his client. Not only is Aiello showing his lack of integrity, he is showing he will make as many people look bad as possible so he doesn't look so bad. All smoke and mirrors. Lets cut to the chase so to speak, and concentrate on his actions during the pursuit and then on to the DWI issue. There is no room for a Chief like this in Law Enforcement. He makes the entire profession look bad. And he is certainly no leader.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
Jun '19

Soooo...... anybody have an update. I haven't been able to find anything online.

younggen younggen
August 5th

No confirmed update.
But I’m sure he’s still collecting his paycheck pending further “ review”.


Wonder if there is some type of back room dealing going on. Maybe weeks or months from now we all find out he was given a big payday, pension etc.. just to move on. Whatever happened to justice.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
August 17th

Is the Pope Catholic?


Stymie said “But I’m sure he’s still collecting his paycheck pending further “ review”.
Where can I find a job like that? I’d love months off, with pay and benefits, for months, while “under review”. I wish I became a cop. Oh well, too old, now.

Guilty-Remnant Guilty-Remnant
August 18th

The Hearing officer actually died in June. They're looking at late September to resume the hearing but haven't set a firm date yet. Aiello still on paid leave, no changes there.


Suspended without pay and now has until the 16th to appeal.


Where can one find and read the information on that magpie? I found the initial documents online but not the latest related to the hearing.


Greg.

I'm not sure where you would find it but I would think it will be in the newspaper soon. I didn't see it in today's, maybe tomorrows.


I didn't read all the posts,so perhaps I missed the answer to my question. If so, I'm sorry. But what charge is he suspended for? Is it the car chase or the DUI case?

Parental Unit Parental Unit
1 week ago

Joyce and everyone else at WRNJ has fantastic reporting. I would give them time to do their magic and keep us in updated.

Jonathan Stone Jonathan Stone
1 week ago

I think the DUI.


Thank you magpie.

Parental Unit Parental Unit
1 week ago

Interesting. I understood the hearing was related to the chase event. The alleged DUI issue was yet to come.


As I said, I think. I wasn't sure.


good riddance to bad rubbish

GreyHawk GreyHawk
1 week ago

I have not found anything in writing regarding the results of the hearing related to the November car chase incident.yet. No mention of another investigation of any alleged DUI either.

The township had stated prior to the hearing that they were looking for a 60 day suspension without pay so I gather that is the result of the hearings.

The link below shows the resolutions adopted a few months back prior to the hearings. Just an FYI.

https://www.scribd.com/document/402775825/Independence-Township-police-chief-leave-suspension-resolutions


As I said before, someone cut a deal when no one was looking and this is the result. I'm guessing the DWI will go the same way and at some point Aiello will be back in his office, business as usual. Then the issue will be, every member of the Dept. now knows that their Chief will do anything, including endangering his own Officers, to avoid consequences when the Chief makes a mistake. There will be no respect or trust in the Chief. Independence has a chance to get rid of this man, and rebuild the Department, but they won't and that's a real shame for other members of the Department and the residents of Independence Twp.. I see a huge law suite coming some day when Aiello makes another mistake and someone gets hurt.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
7 days ago

I'm unsure of what the "typical" consequence is in this type of situation. Perhaps there is a precedent from other departments to base this punishment on. A 60 day suspension without pay will sting for sure. It was a lapse in judgement and I am certain he will seek additional training for the future. Based on that single incident, I can't see riding the guy out of town on a rail.

As for as the alleged DUI that is a whole other situation. If in fact all or parts of that story turn out to be true, then clearly he should be removed from the position. With that said it's only fair to let the investigation (assuming there is one) find the facts and let the proper authorities proceed with the process.


May the "investigation" be shorter than the suspension; we have paid enough for this gentleman. He has lost our faith. It's time for everyone to move on.

We just had a school break-in that demands investigation and we have no one at the helm except a pro-tem who will naturally be doing whatever he can to become permanent. We need to move on and find a permanent leader.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
7 days ago

" We need to move on and find a permanent leader"

What was he found guilty of? I must have missed something.

The Man The Man
7 days ago

There was a hearing related to a high speed chase last fall. It was determined that he did not follow certain protocols during the pursuit resulting in a suspension.


According to WRNJ this suspension is for the DWI, not the chase.


I can't find anything on WRNJ about it yet. I wonder what the disposition of the hearing regarding the chase is then? Very confusing! LOL


On February 13th, the chief was put on administrative leave, with pay, pending investigation by the County Prosecutor as approved by the town council sans Cougal who was missing in action.

On March 12, 2019, resolution #19-43, "Chief Aiello will remain on paid leave due to the ongoing investigation by the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office. That status will remain until such time as there is a hearing on the charges relating to the November 9, 2017 incident wherein the Township will be seeking to impose a 60 day suspension without pay. That's a pretty affirmative sort of statement the township is making. On this resolution, I think everyone voted yea.

https://www.scribd.com/document/402775825/Independence-Township-police-chief-leave-suspension-resolutions

I can not find anything about a hearing or a suspension without pay.....yet. I think it is still forthcoming as we pay and pay and.... So, I agree, The Man, he is innocent until proven elsewise. Personally, I think it's time not to fish, but to cut bait. My point though is that it does not matter the outcome of the hearing. He has lost faith with the community, the township is still losing money over this, more each day, and for the sake of the township and his career, he should resign and move on. Even if innocent of criminal charges, he has violated the township police manual guidelines and the NJ State police guidelines ---- take the resume while it is still intact before the hearing is completed. IMO.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
6 days ago

Strangerdanger, I believe you are correct and his moving on would be the best thing. But I doubt he will. He now has a reputation and I can't imagine another agency taking the chance on him, not even as a patrolman. I doubt he will want to give up the top spot and will roll the dice to be reinstated. More tax dollars lost, and more people in the Department will be damaged along the way. His defence, according to his attorney, is that he is being "railroaded". Obviously everything that he is accused of, was done to him, not by him. So in his mind, he will fight it.

Boobalaa Boobalaa
5 days ago

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