Mayor Wildes Comments on Englewood Police Department

When Chief David Bowman was acquitted I supported him 100 percent and without equivocation. I admire and respect the decades of service given to Englewood by him.

That is why I strongly backed his reinstatement as police chief last year.

Upon his eligibility for renewed service, had Chief Bowman chosen to fight for a full and complete unlimited reinstatement, he knew I would have stood by his side. However, he and his legal representation, made a more limited agreement with the City of Englewood, and by extension the people of Englewood.

That agreement calls for him to retire in September of 2008. Before that agreement was made a binding one, I asked the Chief if this was his true wish. He said yes.

Just as it would have been unfair to Chief Bowman for the City of Englewood to turn its back on him once his name had been legally cleared, so to is it a violation of basic fairness for us to make an agreement with him and then go back. Fair is fair. An agreement was made with Chief Bowman with him having the benefit of full and complete legal representation in the process. That agreement calls for him to retire in September and for the position of police chief to remain vacant until January of 2009.

Changing this agreement has both budgetary and professional implications. Clearly it impacts upon the treasury of the city as well as the planned reorganization of the department and the careers of those involved.

What is important is that we act consistently. In that vein it should be noted that one argument now made by supporters of Chief Bowman for breaking the existing agreement and offering an extension of his contract is the fact that an Englewood police officer had made a similar agreement to retire and was permitted an extension and remains in place today.

The city manager and city council needs to address this kind of glaring inconsistency if they expect to have credibility with the community in enforcing the agreement made with Chief Bowman.

Chief Bowman has served our city very well. His retirement in September, or in the near future, has always been a sad reality for which we must prepare.

The citizens of our City are fortunate to have someone of the caliber of Deputy Chief O'Keefe. Englewood must fill the gap left by the chief not only as the head of our fine department, but also as a bridge between the people of our diverse city. While I have full confidence in Deputy
Chief O'Keefe to do the former, it is my strongest desire that the incoming chief will chose his deputy in recognition of that other void left by Chief Bowman's retirement.

Thank you.

Michael Wildes
Mayor, City of Englewood, NJ



Paid for by Friends of Michael J. Wildes For Mayor, Assemblyman Arnold Brown, Treasurer

250 Allison Court, Englewood, NJ 07631