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Multiple protests are planned to highlight what many Toms River residents are calling the cowardice of Mayor Daniel Rodrick.

As previously reported on FAA News, Rodrick recently announced a plan to downsize the Toms River Police Department by eliminating two Captains positions and by reducing the number of sworn law enforcement officers by two. In his announcement Rodrick claimed that he was actually growing the rank-and-file by eight positions, but those hires are to staff another ambulance.

In anticipation of an overflow crowd, rather than move the January 31 Council meeting to a different venue, the Mayor and Council decided to host a virtual meeting.

That decision has drawn the ire of plenty of Toms River resident.

“He is a coward, plain and simple. I watched him wince at the last meeting as one resident after the next came to the microphone to voice their objections to his plan to defund our police department. Clearly he lacks the capacity to accept constructive criticism” said Sandy, a resident of the Gilford Park section of town.

In advance of the Council meeting there are now two rallies planned.

One rally is set for 3 p.m. Tuesday at the corner of Washington and Robbins streets, and the second is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday outside Town Hall at 33 Washington St., both aiming to show support for the police department.

Late last week Rodrick spent $18,000 of taxpayer money to send a letter to all residents of Toms River explaining his decision to downsize the police department.

On Saturday Chief of Police Mitch Little responded to Rodrick’s costly letter in a Facebook post, debunking much of what Rodrick had stated. Mayor Rodrick ordered the Facebook post to be removed three hours later.

"Let me state clearly and unequivocally, the rank-and-file union, the supervisors union, and I, all stand united in opposition to the elimination of two captains positions to fund the EMT program," Little wrote. "I have asked the mayor for an opportunity to discuss his concerns in relation to the potential unintended consequences of his decision to implement these cuts to our command staff. I believe there is a middle ground that is mutually beneficial to all involved, the police department, the governing body, and most of all, the members of the community."

Little went on to say "These SLEO officers are not authorized to carry weapons and have no arrest powers. They are replacements for the 15 SLEO officers lost last year due to them pursuing other full-time law enforcement employment," Little added. "In reality, the department is still short eight Class I officers from last year, with the possibility of losing two full-time sworn police officers through attrition this year, dropping the total end strength of full-time sworn officers from 162 to 158."


He noted that the captains are his "support staff" and help manage the 335 total police department employees, including Class I, II and III special officers and civilian staff members. There are 162 officers, the same number as 20 years ago, but calls have risen from 43,885 to 65,000 annually, and the township's population has grown from a bit over 89,000 in 2000 to about 98,000 last year, according to 

the U.S. Census Bureau.

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