Camden Police Chief Wants Officers to Use Violence Less Often

camden police chief

The chief of Camden County Police has always had a mission of reducing violence in the community, but now he’s choosing a novel way to accomplish the task — by reducing his own department’s use of force.

Chief Scott Thomson this week told officers he is creating a new mentorship program within the department to focus on minimizing the use of force and increasing the use of “de-escalation techniques.” Read more »

NJ Transit Wants to Cut Philly-to-Six Flags Great Adventure Route

el-toro-great-adventure

A seasonal bus route that connects Philadelphia to Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari in New Jersey is on NJ Transit’s chopping block, NJ.com reports.

“It’s a low ridership issue,” Jennifer Nelson, a spokeswoman for the agency, told Philly Mag. The route typically runs on weekends and holidays between spring and fall, with buses leaving Philadelphia in the morning and returning late in the evening.

The demise of the 318 bus is just one item in a package of service reductions and fare increases that would go into effect on October 1st; riders across the entire system would see fares go up by about 9 percent. Read more »

NYT: Bridgegate Indictments Near

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo | Mark Humphrey)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo | Mark Humphrey)

After more than a year of investigation, federal prosecutors in New Jersey are ready to bring indictments in the “Bridgegate” scandal, the New York Times reports.

Hearings by a special investigative committee of the State Legislature and a report by Mr. Christie’s own lawyers provided more questions and contradictions than they did answers to the most basic question: What prompted a deputy chief of staff to the governor, a Republican, to send a note calling for “some traffic problems in Fort Lee”?

People close to the case say prosecutors are likely to bring charges based on a rarely used provision of a fraud statute, under which they would argue that Mr. Christie’s associates used the bridge, or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs it, for a purpose other than its intended one. In the case of the bridge, the closings were apparently meant to punish Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee, a Democrat, after he declined to endorse the governor’s re-election bid in 2013.

What is less certain is whether prosecutors will find crimes in the other ways Mr. Christie used his powers in the service of political ambition. He used Port Authority money to fill holes in his budget; his lieutenants doled out flags and steel from the remnants of the World Trade Center to woo mayors whose endorsements they sought. An office of “intergovernmental affairs” worked to cultivate endorsements, all in the hopes that the governor could use a huge winning margin to argue that he was the Republican most likely to win the White House in 2016.

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Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted for Bribery, Fraud

Courtesy of the Office of Sen. Menendez

Courtesy of the Office of Sen. Menendez

The Associated Press is reporting that Sen. Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Newark. The full indictment is embedded below.

Washington Post:

After a more than two-year investigation, Menendez faces charges for what prosecutors believe were improper efforts by Menendez to help Salomon Melgen, a Florida-based doctor who was also a contributor to Menendez’s campaigns and his longtime friend. Menendez intervened on Melgen’s behalf in a dispute with the federal regulators over Medicare charges and in a bid by Melgen to secure a port security contract in the Dominican Republic.

Menendez would be only the second U.S. senator to face a federal corruption indictment in the last 20 years. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and suggested that any gifts he received from Melgen were part of a close, personal friendship that dates back to the early 1990s.

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Cooper CEO Was “Distraught” Over Critical Report

John Sheridan was troubled by a report criticizing the hospital on the day he died, witnesses say, but family members say work woes wouldn’t have spurred the CEO of the Cooper University Health System to commit murder-suicide.

John and Joyce Sheridan were found dead in their New Jersey home last fall. On Friday, the Somerset County prosecutor officially ruled their deaths a murder-suicide, a conclusion family members vigorously dispute. Read more »

Report: Deaths of Cooper CEO, Wife Ruled a Murder-Suicide

John Sheridan, then-CEO of the Cooper Health System, died with his wife in September.

John Sheridan, then-CEO of the Cooper Health System, died with his wife in September.

The deaths of Cooper CEO John Sheridan and his wife, Joyce, has been ruled a murder suicide, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Prior to his death, John Cooper had led the Camden-based Cooper Health System.

Further details were not immediately available.

But that ruling by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey may not be the final word in the matter. The Inquirer also reports also that the couple’s sons are disputing the findings, as well as aspects of the investigation that led to today’s conclusion.

“The disagreement between the Sheridans’ sons – Mark, Matt, Dan, and Tim – and investigators has centered on whether John Sheridan killed Joyce and then himself, as authorities have long suspected, or whether their deaths were a double-murder by a third party, as the family believes,” the Inquirer reports. The family says “investigators did not process doors to the house for fingerprints and ‘left weapons at the scene for more than a month’ – specifically a fire poker in the couple’s bedroom.”

The Sheridans were found in September by firefighters responding to a blaze at their home. Since the, the case has trickled out in series of details without investigators announcing any firm conclusions until today. The family in November hired its own pathologist to investigate and monitor the official investigation.

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