The chairman of the local Republican committee on Wednesday challenged the all-Democrat Township Council to move and adopt a resolution stating it will not move the township into a proposed Camden County police force.
"Would you consider a resolution to protect and preserve the Gloucester Township Police Department from countywide participation—to exclude Gloucester Township from any countywide police participation—to put on the books?" Ray Polidoro asked.
Council President Glen Bianchini indicated he was not inclined to move such a resolution. He opened Polidoro's proposal up to his colleagues, but no one bit.
Council Vice President Orlando Mercado responded by telling Polidoro the resolution would not carry any weight.
"It's a non-binding resolution, if you want to put a resolution on," he said. "It's like, 'OK, we support our police department. We want to keep it here.' But what does that do? When I've publicly stated, we've publicly stated ... we want it to stay here. Can I be clearer?"
Bianchini joined Mercado during the eight-minute exchange with Polidoro in stating he has previously expressed his support for maintaining the township police department.
"I've clearly stated here that I support our police department, that I want our police department to serve Gloucester Township," Bianchini said.
Polidoro dismissed those statements as "feelings."
"Your feelings are great. Put it on paper," Polidoro told Council.
Bianchini and Mercardo, both of whom are seeking re-election on Nov. 8—Biachini is aiming for a fourth term, Mercado a third—told Polidoro no one from the county has approached local officials to indicate Gloucester Township must join the proposed countywide police force.
"I do feel they're coming and a lot of other people feel they're coming," Polidoro said.
Councilman Dan Hutchison described Polidoro's request as a "political maneuver designed to get (Council) to alter the way we do walk-ons," referring to the practice of adding measures to Council's agenda after the agenda has been published by the Clerk's Office.
When asked following Wednesday's meeting why he called for Council to adopt the resolution, Polidoro suggested he knew they would not—the Democratic councilmen won't put their opinion on the matter in writing so as to not upset the apple cart, he said.
"They don't want to tell the county freeholders—their friends—hands off, when they could," the Erial resident said.
Only Camden has signed on to join a county-run police force to this point. The county forwarded that proposal to the state on Sept. 30.