Prosecutor Gives Command of the Police Department Back to the LAVALLETTE Chief of Police

PRESS RELEASE-OCEAN COUNTY PROSECUTOR RESTORES COMMAND & CONTROL OF THE LAVALLETTE POLICE DEPARTMENT TO LAVALLETTE CHIEF OF POLICE

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced that effective today, March 24, 2023, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is restoring full command and control of the Lavallette Police Department to Lavallette Chief of Police Christian LaCicero.

On May 19, 2022, Prosecutor Billhimer, pursuant to his authority as Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Ocean County, announced that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office assumed full command and control of the Lavallette Police Department based upon terminal leave of then-Police Chief Colin Grant. To that end, Prosecutor Billhimer designated Anthony U. Carrington, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives, as the Officer-in-Charge, and Joseph F. Mitchell, retired Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives, to handle the day-to-day operations of the Lavallette Police Department.

Since assuming full command and control of the Lavallette Police Department, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office conducted a thorough evaluation of the department, highlighting areas in need of improvement and implementing plans and procedures to further the goal of meeting the necessary standards of a professional law enforcement agency. The Report itemizes deficiencies that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office addressed and corrected, as well as deficiencies that remain.

“I am proud of the work we have done to assist the Lavallette Police Department. The police officers – the men and women that wear the uniform in Lavallette – have been very receptive to our implementation of formal procedures, practices and policies. I’m optimistic that Chief LaCicero will lead these men and women effectively moving forward,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

“I’d like to thank Chief Carrington, Chief Mitchell, and Lt. Brian Haggerty for their dedicated service to the Borough of Lavallette. They conducted themselves professionally at all times and were tremendous representatives of this office,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “I’d also like to thank Chief Assistant Prosecutor – Professional Standards Unit, William Scharfenberg for the work he’s done on behalf of this office in Lavallette. Collectively, we are leaving this Police Department in a better position to succeed – which was really the goal all along,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

“At this point in time, Chief LaCicero has completed Chief’s training with the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police, Internal Affairs Training provided by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and has benefitted from the leadership provided by this office – specifically Chief Carrington, Chief Mitchell, and Lt. Haggerty for the past ten months. He is ready to lead the Lavallette Police Department,” Prosecutor Billhimer added.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, by and through the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards Unit, had previously assumed command and control of the Internal Affairs functions of the Lavallette Police Department on December 16, 2021, after an audit of the Department’s records. Earlier this month, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office provided the required Office of Attorney General Internal Affairs training to all Ocean County Law Enforcement. Chief LaCicero and two Lavallette Sergeants attended and successfully completed the training. “Now that the Chief and two Sergeants have been properly trained in conducting Internal Affairs investigations, the Internal Affairs function will also be returned to the Lavallette Police Department,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

“While the Borough has indicated that it is unable to afford the cost associated with getting the Lavallette Police Department accredited by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, it is my hope that they will, in time, be able to join the 26 other law enforcement agencies in Ocean County that are already accredited. Accreditation ensures that a law enforcement agency is operating at maximum efficiency and reduces risk and liability exposure,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

“I commend the officers of the Lavallette Police Department that stepped up and met the high standards that my office required of them. It is important to me, as well as the residents of the Borough, that the officers are properly trained and committed to keeping their community safe and secure,” Prosecutor Billhimer added.

“I wish Chief LaCicero the best of luck in his position as Chief of the Lavallette Police Department and thank him for his service to the community,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

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