🚨 Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little was suspended without pay

🚨 Mayor Daniel Rodrick asked to explain

🚨 Rodrick and Little have been at odds

TOMS RIVER — The political fighting between Mayor Daniel Rodrick and Police Chief Mitch Little took another twist with the suspension of the chief.

Police Lt. Gene Bachonski told New Jersey 101.5 Little is on an unpaid suspension Tuesday and Wednesday. Bachonski did not disclose a reason for the suspension.

"We cannot comment on personnel matters," Rodrick told New Jersey 101.5 in a text.

Sources told Patch, which was first to report the suspension, it was over an "administrative issue."

The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police gave Little its support against "meritless attacks" from Rodrick and questioned the legality of the suspension.

"There was no investigation and Chief Little was not given an opportunity to address the allegations against him prior to being suspended," South Brunswick Police Chief and NJSACOP spokesman Raymond Hayducka said in a statement. "We believe the imposition of this suspension is based on bad legal advice or more likely the failure to follow the advice of the Tom River labor attorney."

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Burglars inside a Toms River caught on surveillance video
Burglars inside a Toms River caught on surveillance video (The Lakewood Scoop)

Crime wave in Toms River

The suspension comes as Toms River faces an increase in carjackings and burglaries including one incident where thieves got away with $10,000 worth of jewelry and valuables.

In another burglary, thieves broke into the Venzina Jewelry store inside the Ocean County Mall through a vacant space. They stole $1 million worth of items from a safe inside an office, according to Toms River police.

Rodrick, who took office in January, took the funds being used to pay two retiring police captains and shifted them to pay for new EMTs and special police officers. The mayor contends the department is top-heavy with the administration when more administrators are needed on the street.

The township council approved the moves in an ordinance which was repealed by voters via a petition. Rodrick kept the moves in place because an ordinance wasn't needed in the first place.

"The fact is I never needed the ordinance. It is the administration's right to determine the staffing levels at the police department and that is what we will do," Rodrick said. "Residents cannot wait 30 minutes for an ambulance. We do not need two more $350,000-a-year management positions at the PD. We need more boots on the ground. We need more EMTs at the PD."

Audience at the Toms River Township Council during a special meeting on 2/1424
Audience at the Toms River Township Council during a special meeting on 2/1424 (Toms River Township NJ via YouTube)

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