No Decision Yet on City Police Chief


coaster-news-200-newBy DON STINE

Asbury Park will not see any changes to personnel at the top level of the police department until at least after the first of the year when the new City Council and mayor are sworn in.

Asbury Park Police Chief Mark Kinmon retired earlier this month and the department is running under the supervision of Deputy Chief Anthony Salerno. Over the last several months there have been discussions about the position of chief as well as police director.

“We are going to let the new council be seated before we make this decision,” City Manager Jack Kelly said on Tuesday.

And while the appointment of the new chief or director is up to Kelly, he said there will obviously be input from council members.

“There may be discussion where some (council members) may want to have a police director or a police chief. But until there is a new council, we will not know that,” he said.

All five Asbury Park council seats are up for grabs in the nonpartisan Nov. 4 election after voters approved a change of government referendum one year ago. For the first time, the new government calls for the direct election of the mayor. Current council terms are good until the end of this year and the new mayor and council will be seated on Jan. 7.

Neighboring Neptune recently created a new arrangement for its police department, with both a police chief and a civilian police director- the only arrangement of its kind in Monmouth County.

Last week Neptune’s Deputy Chief James M. Hunt Jr., a 20-year police veteran, was sworn as the new Police Chief. He has run the police department as deputy chief since June, 2013.

Neptune’s Chief Financial Officer Michael Bascom was also appointed the civilian police director. Hunt will run the day-to-day operations of the police department while Bascom will handle administrative functions of the department.

Bascom, who will receive no additional stipend for taking on his new role, has been the acting-civilian police director since former Police Chief Robert Adams retired more than a year ago.

State law allows the civilian police director to develop criteria and provide oversight for the police department but without involvement in the department’s day-to-day operations.

Kelly said he was unaware of the new arrangement in Neptune for running the police department.

The question of appointing a new Asbury Park police chief or a civilian police director has been lingering since Police Chief Mark Kinmon announced he was retiring effective Sept. 1. Salerno, who has been on the force for 26 years, was appointed in May as the new Deputy Police Chief.

The city has had several police directors instead of police chiefs over the last 20 years.

A total $84,629 payout to retired Asbury Park Police Chief Mark Kinmon was unanimously approved by the City Council at last week’s meeting.

The payout is to compensate Kinmon, who retired effective Sept. 1, for 135 unused sick days and 28 unused vacation days. City officials said that the pay-out was a contractual obligation that the city needed to fulfill.

“Chief Kinmon deserves every single penny given him for his service to the city,” resident Arnold Faulhaber.

Kinmon, 45, has been working in law enforcement for 27 years. He began his work in the city in March of 1990 as a patrol officer and became chief of police in March of 2007. Prior to that, he worked with county law enforcement.

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