Two police officers were honored for their promotions at last week’s township council meeting.
Sgt. Sean Krater is now Lieutenant in the patrol division. James Stokes was promoted to sergeant, also in patrol.
Councilwoman Debi Merz, after congratulating the officers, noted the new personnel policies are more transparent and open. She commented that when council met with individual officers there was a discussion of including more people of color.
Mayor Eric Wilsusen said the township has to work within Civil Service rules which means picking among the top three scorers on promotion exams. He did say there may be more consistency in the oral review board than in the past.
In a previous interview, Chief Paul Castimore emphasized his commitment to diversity, with a second female officer coming on board.
Council President Kim Finnegan noted the meeting fell on Thank a Police Officer Day and the police had just experienced a “crazy call” with a stolen car and a police chase. She complimented the department on handling the situation well.
Merz also noted it is Suicide Awareness month. She has long been a suicide prevention advocate and commented that the township Health Department and JTConnect along with the Municipal Alliance Committee all have suicide prevention resources as does Morris County.
“The more we know, the more we can become good listeners,” Merz said.
After some discussion with the attorney representing Tipsy Toms Taber, also known as Charley’s Tavern on Route 181, council decided to hold a hearing on the renewal of the establishment’s liquor license.
Krater, who, until the vote earlier in the evening was a detective sergeant and in charge of the detective bureau, explained the violations Tipsy Toms was charged with over the summer were violations of Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order regarding outside service.
The executive order decreed only outside service. In the case of the tavern, patrons had to walk through the establishment to reach the patio area. They were required to wear face masks while walking through and when entering the premises to use the restrooms.
Krater said the police answered complaints about people not wearing masks and, on one occasion, about a woman at the bar ordering drinks. The executive order called for outside ordering and service only.
The tavern’s attorney, John Williams, said the owner hired two security guards after a late July complaint. One security guard is stationed at the back in the outside seating area. The other is at the front door.
On busy weekends, patrons fill the parking lot. Krater said on July 24 patrons parked along Yacht Club Drive past Collins Avenue. At times they may also park across the street, which results in pedestrians crossing busy Route 181.
The owner, Donna Toney, said while she doesn’t live in town, she does monitor the security cameras constantly.
There have been a couple of complaints about liquor license violations, notably the allegation of an assault in the outside seating area on July 30. He said the alleged assailant had left the scene by the time police arrived. The victim was told he could file a complaint against the man who hit him.
The security guards were brought in right after that incident.
The original resolution for renewal of the liquor license called for hiring three security guards. Toney pointed out she can only accommodate 49 patrons so three guards would be too many.
Council agreed and passed a resolution authorizing the renewal of the license. Williams said he will discuss the Executive Order violations with the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission.