Petition Challenging Toms River Police Cuts Ordinance Certified

TOMS RIVER, NJ — A petition seeking to overturn a Toms River ordinance that eliminated two captains’ positions and a patrol officer has been certified as valid by the Toms River Township clerk.

In a letter dated March 22, Township Clerk Michael Cruoglio notified the Township Council and the petition committee that the recall petition had been certified.

“I have reviewed each of the signatures presented to me, spanning over 530 pages,” Cruoglio said. “Using the New Jersey Voter Registration System to verify each of the signatures and ensure all who signed were registered voters in Toms River Township, I can confidently certify that more than 3,079 registered voters have signed the petition.”

Find out what's happening in Toms Riverwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

The petition needed signatures equalling at least 15 percent of the total votes cast in the November 2023 election. In Toms River, there were 20,523 votes cast, Cruoglio said, quoting information from the Ocean County Board of Elections.

Cruoglio said he will present the findings at Wednesday’s council meeting.

Find out what's happening in Toms Riverwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

“The Council will have 20 days from then to take action to repeal this ordinance, or it will be submitted to appear on a ballot as a question for the voters at the upcoming November General Election,” he wrote.

The controversial ordinance was introduced in January, with Mayor Daniel Rodrick saying the money spent on salaries for the two captains’ positions would be better spent on community service officers — also known as emergency medical technicians — to address what he said were were up to 30-minute wait times for ambulances in Toms River.

Read more: Plan To Cut Police Positions Sparks Outrage In Toms River

Click Here:

After a letter from Rodrick on Toms River Township letterhead with salaries and benefits costs paid to the top police captains, lieutenants and sergeants was mailed to residents, Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little refuted Rodrick’s claim that the officers were simply holding desk jobs.

Read more: Toms River Police Chief Refutes Mayor’s Claims On Police Staffing

Toms River’s two police unions have refuted Rodrick’s claims, saying the ambulance response times are much shorter, an average of 7.9 minutes in 2023, and that police officers — frequently the first to respond to a first aid call — arrived in 6.7 minutes.

Read more: Toms River Police Push Back As Mayor Declares Cuts Final

The Toms River Police Department answered 71,868 calls for service in 2023, an average of almost 197 calls per day. More than 11,500 of those calls were for medical calls, including 3,735 calls for help involving heart issues, strokes or breathing issues and 92 reporting CPR in progress, according to Toms River police call data.

The council approved the ordinance at the Feb. 14 special meeting by a 5-2 vote, with council members Justin Lamb, George Lobman, Tom Nivison, Council Vice President Lynn O’Toole, and Council President Craig Coleman voting in favor, and council men James Quinlisk and David Ciccozzi voting against. Read more: Toms River Council OKs Controversial Police Staffing Ordinance

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.