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  • Writer's pictureCraig Richards and Kristin Guglietti

Hammonton Council required to resolve police dispute


courtesy photo

HAMMONTON—The March 25 Hammonton Town Council meeting took a turn from the norm in the beginning of the meeting. Due to what was labeled by some as a communication breakdown inside the Hammonton Police Department, the council was required to take on the role of judge and jury.


The issues centered around HPD Sergeant David Reustle who left his shift without immediately completing reports. What came under question was the timing of the completion of those reports and a subsequent report required by Reustle detailing the reasoning for the delay in the early reports.


Ultimately the issue morphed into a legal issue with Reustle requesting a public hearing. That internal investigation hearing required the town council to adjudicate the proceedings. After nearly two and a half hours of deliberation including testimony for HPD, Mayor Stephen DiDonato called a closed session in an effort for council and both parties to mediate a

resolution.


Upon concluding the closed session, a resolution was announced. Solicitor Michael Malinsky said both sides came to the following resolution: Both sides agreed to the following four decisions. Reustle would forfeit 24 hours of comp time. Reustle will write a report as to why he didn’t finish the report on August 27, 2023, before he left his shift. There will be a dismissal of all charges and finding the charges are unsubstantiated. And neither party would pay the opposing party’s legal fees.


“This is a full and final settlement of the parties and full release of both sides of all claims,” Malinsky said.


After the closed session and resolution of the case, the council proceeded to conduct normal council business, which concluded shortly before midnight. Several resolutions were approved during the meeting including the following:


Resolution #060-2024-Temporary Capital Budget – A temporary capital budget was created for the purchase of trash trucks, auxiliary equipment, trash toters, new computer program for construction office, various computer upgrades to town’s system, Old Forks Road Roadway improvements, purchase and installation of a centrifuge, purchase and installation of fence to enclose Boyer Avenue Drip and installation of new doors at utility garage.


Resolution #008-2024-Centrifuse Project – Bond ordinance providing for the purchase and installation of a centrifuge.


#056-2024-Approve Good Friday Procession – St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish will have a Good Friday Procession on March 29 at 4:30 p.m.


#057-2024-Approve St. John Procession – St. John the Baptist Society will have a St. John Feast and Procession on June 24 at 7 p.m.


#061-2024-Appoint Local Registrar – Denise Mazzeo was appointed Registrar of Vital Statistics for the town of Hammonton effective April 1, 2024 to March 30, 2027.


Earlier in the meeting, Friel recognized Officer Travis Hoffman as the 2023 Officer of the Year.


Friel then recognized Detective John Amendolia III who was moved from Corporal to Detective.


Friel also promoted Corporal Christopher Henshaw to the Corporal position. Councilman Thomas Gribbin sworn in Henshaw.


The next town council meeting will be on April 22 at 7 p.m. at town hall.


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