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Former Newark Top Cop to Conduct Study of Bloomfield's Police Department

Samuel DeMaio to analyze township's department that has been at the center of several recent controversies.

Former Newark Top Cop to Conduct Study of Bloomfield's Police Department
Newark's former top cop has been hired to study the Bloomfield Police Department.

Samuel DeMaio, who retired last month as Newark's police director, will conduct a six-month management and accountability study of Bloomfield's department starting next Monday, according to NJ.com. DeMaio is now working as a consultant for SDM Protective Consulting Group, of East Hanover.

The analysis, which will cost the township $80,000, will provide "recommendations on how to improve operational efficiency through organizational and operational changes," according to a township announcement.

The embattled Bloomfield police department has been at the center of several recent controversies.

Mayor Michael Venezia pledged last week to "fight to assure that utmost professionalism is maintained by our police department, and that the department is representative of the majority of our good officers and not the actions of a few bad ones."

Venezia said he was "outraged" when he saw police cruiser dashboard videos showing officers beating a man during a traffic stop on the Garden State Parkway. The incident occurred in 2012, but a second tape was recently uncovered and publicly released that exonerated the driver of the vehicle who had been charged with eluding, resisting arrest and assault.

The video footage has led to the indictments of Bloomfield Police officers Orlando Trinidad and Sean Courter, both 33. They each pleaded not guilty last month to conspiracy, official misconduct, tampering with public records and false swearing charges. Trinidad also pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault.

The release of the dashboard videos came on the heels of Acting Police Chief James Behre being placed on paid leave, pending a fitness for duty exam, just days after he publicly denounced Councilman Carlos Bernard for allegedly asking for favoritism toward Hispanic officers and to allegedly fix a parking ticket.

Bernard has denied the allegations, saying he was asking questions—not making demands—to advocate for minority officers.

Behre became acting police chief when Chris Goul took early retirement on Jan. 1 as the department came under fire for the suspension of two police officers who served in the U.S. Marines.

Patrol officers Michael McCracken and Hector Cartagena were accused of taking time off from their police jobs and falsely claiming it as time spent serving in the military. The two officers were reinstated in January after Goul's retirement.

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