Toms River Police Cuts Sent Back To Council

People rallied in support of the Toms River Police on the corner of Robbins and Washington streets to oppose a move by Mayor Dan Rodrick to cut police positions. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  TOMS RIVER – A controversial cut to the police administration might be overturned due to a recall movement that collected thousands of signatures.

  According to a letter from Township Clerk Michael Cruoglio, the Township Council will have to decide whether to repeal the change or let the voters decide in November.

  There are two police captains who retired this year. Mayor Daniel Rodrick’s plan was not to refill those positions, which he said would save the town $700,000. He wanted to use that money to fund the staff for the round-the-clock ambulance with eight new EMS staff specifically dedicated to the portion of town over the bridge.

  Residents took issue with Rodrick and the council members that support him making this decision, claiming that the EMS could be funded in other ways, for example a grant that Police Chief Mitch Little sought. Critics said that Rodrick undervalued the police administration, while he claimed the critics were engaged in political theater.


  A group of Republicans and Democrats held protests and knocked on doors to get a petition signed to recall the ordinance that cut the positions.

  A letter from Cruoglio on March 22 stated that he received the petition on March 4. By law, the petition must have at least 15% of the total votes cast in the last election during which members of the General Assembly were elected. This would have been November of 2023. Since there were 20,523 votes cast, the petitioners needed at least 3,079 valid signatures.

  The signatures, spanning over 530 pages, were reviewed to verify that they were all registered to vote in Toms River. “I can confidently certify that more than 3,079 registered voters have signed the petition,” his letter said.

  “I will present my findings to the Toms River Township Council at the March 27, 2024 regular Council meeting. 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,” his letter said.

  One of the changes that Rodrick and the new council made in January was to cut the number of meetings in half. There is no meeting currently scheduled within 20 days. The next meeting is April 24. This means that the council either needs to act at the March 27 meeting, or schedule a new meeting within 20 days.

  A joint press release from the Fraternal Order of Police and the Policemen’s Benevolent Association urged people to sign the petition. “Our goal is to continue the level of high quality policing our community not only deserves, but has come to rely on,” they said. “There has been a lot of misinformation circulating regarding the controversial decision by the new council members. The Toms River FOP and PBA are committed to ensuring our residents have facts without prejudice.”