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Haddonfield Police Chief May Retire This Year

Borough officials say Chief John Banning could step down this year before the end of his three-year contract.

Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough said Monday that police Chief John Banning may retire before the end of the year.

McCullough said Banning's contract is up next year, as well as the current police contract for the entire force of 21 officers. Typically, retirements are clustered before the end of current contracts because of the expectation a new contract will not include the same level of benefits, she said.

The announcement came at a regular commissioner's work session Monday evening and Banning was not immediately available for comment.

Banning, a nearly 30-year veteran of the department, received a contract in May 2011 that paid him $119,000 a year. McCullough said Det. Sgt. Mark Knoedler has already announced his retirement, as well.

The commissioners had a spirited discussion about whether they will hire replacements for Knoedler and Lt. Gary Pearce, who retired last year. Commissioner Ed Borden, the director of public safety who oversees the police department, asked commissioners Tish Colombi and Jeff Kasko on their intent to  approve the hire of two replacement officers.

Colombi said she would be hesitant to hire two new police officers when the department she oversees has lost several employees in the past years that have not been replaced.

"We don't have enough people to do the job now," she said. "People get pissed off when we can't do jobs around town now."

Kasko didn't immediately express an opinion.

The commissioners explored the possibility of hiring two part-time workers for public works but did not reach an agreement on the hires. Borden said the police department had 26 officers when he became the public safety director eight years ago.

Brian Kelly January 15, 2013 at 03:30 PM
All the best to Police Chief John Banning. Our police officers do a great job. I loved the quote from our Mayor. The two of us have had some wonderful talks about the Tricentennial and all the great things the town has planned. Since our Mayor's pretty classy and that's how I usually express myself I think I might be a bad influence!
George January 15, 2013 at 06:51 PM
I believe that there is a difference in having vacancies in the departments the Mayor oversees , and vacancies in the Police Department. Because of the increase in crime over the past few years , it would seem that we need more police officers , not fewer.
Jeremiah Wright January 15, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Thank you for your service Mr Banning. The following is in no way meant to disrespect you or your service to our town. Didn't another chief just retire? What exactly are the pensions costing us for all these govt retirees? The police, administrators, teachers, etc. Can we get some reporting on this please? What are our current & future obligations for the bennys? Is all this sustainable? Are our elected officials doing anything to implement reforms associated with our financial obligations now and in the future. Especially if we are soon expected to begin paying for this Bancroft White Elephant in another couple weeks.
Jeff H January 17, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Sacrifice police officers for public works staff? REALLY? Do we really need more non-safety public sector employees? WHY NOT OUTSOURCE whatever tasks aren't being done? Having more employees doesn't necessarily mean that things will be completed efficiently and effectively. THIS IS THE OLD WAY OF THINKING. TIME FOR SOME NEW IDEAS!!
Joe Taxpayer January 17, 2013 at 01:52 PM
And remember our NO NEW TAX pledge all! Can't hire new staff with pensions and healthcare without new taxes.

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