Before anyone says anything I know it is ill advised and may be illegal for a police chief to tell a police officer to drop a ticket that the cop has written. But I find it hard to believe that there is such a lack of adult supervision in Trenton, New Jersey that a dispute between on-duty police and firefighters couldn’t be solved before more taxpayer money was wasted.
The article written by The Times’ Alex Zdan this morning should make your head spin and some of you may scream at your computer when you learn things in Trenton are so dysfunctional that the case of two tickets written by police officer Mike Davis to Firefighter Ken Stout at an emergency scene on June 8 may actually be going to trial.
According to Zdan’s article, firefighters responded to East State Street for an alarm at a high-rise apartment building:
With engines and ladders parked on the two-lane downtown street, Battalion Chief Steve Coltre told his driver Firefighter Ken Stout to place the chief’s marked SUV across the road.
“Stout was directed to block the scene for safety,” (Firefighters’ union lawyer Andrew) Bayer said.
Police Officer Lawrence “Mike” Davis then came on the scene and told Coltre to move his vehicle. Coltre refused, and a “discussion” occurred, Bayer said.
“There’s a statute that says a fire chief controls a fire scene as a matter of law, and so police officers can’t issue a ticket to a fire chief at a fire scene,” Bayer said. “Which is what happened here.”
By going to trial this has the potential for the taxpayers footing the bill for court pay for Davis, overtime for two firefighters and the cost of a judge coming in from another jurisdiction. They’ve already paid for an outside municipal prosecutor who failed to even acknowledge the stupidity of all of this to reporter Zdan. That’s a waste of money right there, if you ask me. I would think an outsider might at least the guts to tell everyone to grow up and deal with this.
Trenton’s fire director and police director had been in touch about this situation when it occurred but aren’t telling the reporter what they spoke about.
Stout faces a potential fine of $225 for obstructing traffic and not displaying his permit.