The President of the state’s police chief association in New Jersey has asked city officials to reinstate a township’s police chief after a controversial suspension. James Behre, who was the acting police chief in Bloomfield, was suspended last week after calling Councilman Carlos Bernard “disgusting” and accusing him of corruption. Behre assumed the role of acting chief just last month.
At a council meeting last week, Behre alleged that Bernard asked him to “fix a parking ticket” and pushed him to promote Hispanic officers on two separate occasions. He was suspended on paid leave afterwards and Township Administrator Ted Ehrenburg said Behre would not be allowed to return until he passed a fitness for duty examination by a doctor next month.
The most recent council meeting saw 400 people in attendance, half of which were plice officers and almost all of whom were outraged at the suspension. “We are asking this town council to take action…we want the chief to be put back,” said Paul Cell, president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. “What’s going on is absolutely disgusting. I’m telling you, this shouldn’t happen.”
Behre was also present at the meeting and accused Bernard of engaging in “political inference,” asking for the state Attorney General’s officer to investigate the matter. Bernard did not attend the meeting, but later said he would welcome an investigation to “confirm that I acted ethically and appropriately.”
(Photo: Bloomfield Police Department)