Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

RED BANK WRITES NEW RULES FOR COPS

(Photo by Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge.)

By BRIAN DONOHUE

Three months after placing the town’s police chief on paid leave over bombshell allegations of misconduct levied against him by the state attorney general, Red Bank officials are updating the rules and regulations overseeing the department.

Chief Darren McConnell, above, and Captain Mike Frazee, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

At least one new rule – a ban on dating between officers – closely echoes the scandal that could cost Chief Darren McConnell his badge.

The Borough Council is set vote Thursday on a resolution adopting a new rules and regulations manual that would replace the current one, which has been in place since 1978.

Virtually unchanged for 46 years, the current rules read like a virtual time capsule from the Kojak era, both for what they include and what they don’t. 

Throughout the 34-page document, all officers are referred to with male pronouns “he” and “his.”  Their sideburns, the rules read, “shall not extend below the lobe of the ear.” And they must be as “inconspicuous as possible” while smoking in police cars. 

There is, however, virtually no mention of 21st-century issues like cellphone use on the job, the handling of email or text messages, and issues regarding dating or relationships between officers – all topics finally tackled in the proposed new version.

Acting chief Captain Mike Frazee called the rules and regulations “the foundation on how the department runs day to day operations.”

The rules dictate everything from how crime scenes should be handled including: use of weapons; the organization of the department into separate divisions; officer behavior and appearance and conflicts of interest. Frazee did not say the move to rewrite the manual was in response to any specific issue or incident.

“ Looking over our old rules and regs, it was discovered that they were last updated back in 1978,” Frazee told redbankgreen in an email. “The purpose of the updated version is really to bring the department up to speed with current times. Nothing has really changed other than cleaning up some wording and adding a few different ones here and there. No drastic changes have been made that will impact the operation of the department or its officers.”

Perhaps the most glaring difference? While the 1978 rules do not contain the words “sex” or “dating” at all, the new manual new contains a new section on “personal relationships” that reads:

Because the department cannot fully meet its obligation to the public if it is distracted with the many concerns associated with and when employees date each other, have sex with each other, cohabitate, or are married to each other, intra-department dating relationships and/or cohabitation are prohibited in accordance with the agency’s Fraternization SOP.”

The borough remains in disciplinary proceedings with McConnell that stem from just that issue.

In March, a damning report by the NJAG’s Special Investigations Unit found that McConnell violated borough policy when he used his position to influence internal affairs probes “involving a subordinate officer… with whom he has a personal/ romantic relationship.”

The report detailed eight instances in which investigators determined Patrolwoman Kristin Altimari’s relationship with McConnell appears to have spared her punishment normally doled out to officers. (The two dated for years and are now married). The report recommended McConnell be “terminated” and not allowed to work for the town “in any capacity.”

The borough council has notified McConnell of its “intention to discipline” him. McConnell has invoked his right to a closed hearing, to be presided over by retired New Jersey Superior Court Judge Deborah Gramiccioni.

It is unclear if those hearings have begun. But the town’s case against McConnell could seemingly hinge in part on a reading of the department’s rules.

In the last interview relating to the case conducted via email in late March, Borough Manager Jim Gant told redbankgreen that, “as in any police discipline case, the borough bases charges against police officers on its departmental rules and regulations, internal policies and state laws governing misconduct by law enforcement officers.”

If termination were upheld, Gant said “The borough would vote at a public meeting concerning the recommended decision.” In the meantime, McConnell is prohibited from working but continues to receive his full salary, Gant said.

The new guidelines are included  the council agenda, a full version can be found here. The meeting takes place Thursday at 7 pm at Borough Hall, 90 Monmouth Street. It can also be viewed remotely via Zoom. 

Do you value the news coverage provided by redbankgreen? Please become a financial supporter if you haven’t already. Click here to set your own level of monthly or annual contribution.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
PUDDLE BE GONE
A work crew was out this week attacking the site of the notoriously persistent puddle at the corner of Broad and Mechanic Streets. This phot ...
SMALLS FOR MAYOR?
We at redbankgreen remain neutral in political affairs and never make endorsements. But we have to say Borough Clerk Laura Reinertsen’ ...
CRASH ON LEIGHTON
The driver of this car was headed north on Leighton Avenue when they it hit an SUV pulling a work trailer headed in south in the opposing la ...
CAR VS STREET SIGN
The driver of this Mercedes hopped the curb and toppled the street sign at the corner of South Pearl and Drs. James Parker Boulevard Wednesd ...
SKETCHES OF RED BANK BY LOCAL ARTIST MICHAEL WHITE
Sketches of Red Bank scenes have been floating around on social media and we thought they deserved some spotlight. First appearing in our fe ...
POLE DOWN
Utility pole falls on English Plaza shop Forge after being struck by SUV shortly before noon. No injuries reported, though 86-year-old drive ...
YO, ADRIAN!
It’s a tough turn for our hero as Rocky Balboa is relegated to the curb for trash pickup on Locust Avenue. We’ll have to go back ...
“EL PALOMO” IS IN THE HOUSE
Jesus Rios, a mariachi singer who performs under the stage name “El Palomo” (The dove) pauses for a moment before entering a bac ...
CROC SPOTTED IN RIVER
Frighteningly hideous and green, a solitary Croc lurked ominously amid the flotsam and foam in the Navesink River alongside the Red Bank Fir ...
KISS ICON REFLECTS ON BROADWALK
A Swarovski crystal-bedazzled self-portrait painting of Paul Stanley, longtime singer and guitarist for the rock band Kiss peers out from a ...
CHISELIN’ AWAY
Marcelo Garcia Lopez works with hammer and chisel on a new feature for his flower garden on Shrewsbury Avenue: a hollow in a carved log in w ...
STORM CLEANUP CONTINUES
  Saturday’s storm sent a tree toppling on this house on Bank Street, damaging the roof. Workers Wednesday could be seen removing ...
SNAPPING IN THE BREEZE
RED BANK: Blustery winds had the flags in Riverside Gardens Park snapping Monday evening.
POWER LINE DOWN
Red Bank firefighters were on scene at Manor Drive dealing with a live power line Monday afternoon. There was no immediate report of fire. T ...
TAR BEACH SOLSTICE
Aldo Quiroz of Ocean Township came ready with his beach chair and found a shady spot to spend his lunch hour in a parking lot off Broad Stre ...
GOING GREY
Workers painting the stone facade of the PNC Bank at the corner of Broad and Harding Thursday morning. An upgrade? Maybe it’s just pri ...
COFFEE & WILDLIFE
RED BANK: The best wildlife show in town can be taken in from a waterfront bench outside the public library, and it's totally free.
FAWNING OVER HER BABY
A mother deer and her fawn were spotted between a row of garages on Hudson Avenue and some trees alongside the Broad Street parking lots. Re ...
EVENING ESCAPE
RED BANK: Sailors in Monmouth Boat Club's weekly racing series found tranquil conditions on the Navesink River Tuesday evening.
PEAK COLOR ON BROAD
RED BANK: A year after they were installed, downtown mini gardens have added to "transformational" improvements, says business owner.