Hurley: Was I Wrong About Atlantic City Police Chief Jim Sarkos?
A HARRY HURLEY OPINION - EDITORIAL
On November 5, 2021, I wrote an “Open Letter” to my friend, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
It was titled, “The Case For James Sarkos’ Promotion to Atlantic City Chief of Police.
If you missed it, here is a link directly below to see what we had to say about Sarkos then.
Read More: The Case For James Sarkos’ Promotion To Atlantic City Chief of Police
I was one of his biggest supporters. This was a glowing commentary, which I followed-up with by directly communicating with Governor Murphy to advise how important it was for the Atlantic City to have a Chief of Police.
All paramilitary organizations need a leader. It’s built-in to the concept of what is known as “good order.”
The “Officer in Charge” title that Sarkos was working under was weak and not working well.
Both on-air, off-air and in multiple articles written in support of Sarkos, I effectively and positively pushed for his promotion.
I remember saying, “If Marty Small and Harry Hurley both agree about Sarkos … it must be right.”
Small never wavered in his support for Sarkos to succeed Henry White as Atlantic City Chief of Police.
I’m not yet ready to cross the Rubicon on Sarkos just yet. But, I have multiple concerns.
A Chief of Police is supposed to be free from politics. It’s expressly built into New Jersey state statutes.
However, we are presently observing that Sarkos is unable to remove himself from the magnetic pull of the Marty Small political vortex.
Make no mistake about it, Sarkos’ biggest problem is Small, but, he is still responsible for and must be held accountable for his public conduct.
For example, Sarkos attended a so-called press conference that Small called last week. It was nothing more than a thinly disguised partisan attack event conducted by Small.
We have been advised that a federal Hatch Act complaint is presently being prepared and that it will be sent to the United States office of special counsel regarding Small’s political activities in this city-sponsored event.
Atlantic City Fire Chief Scott Evans, city directors and members of City Council also attended.
Small has placed all of the public employees who attended this partisan political event in potential jeopardy.
Small launched into a blatantly partisan attack against Atlantic City Councilman George Tibbitt. It was an embarrassing public display by Small.
Small exposed all of the city directors and council members who required and/or at least requested that they attend.
One of the council members who attended, we have been told said, “I didn’t wanna be here … Marty made me attend.”
Sarkos displayed very poor judgment in attending this partisan event. It demonstrates that he is not functioning independently and is unable to resist Small’s political pressure.
Sarkos also demonstrated poor judgment when he was photographed with Atlantic City Councilman Md Hossain Morshed (see below).
Atlantic County and Atlantic City is very fortunate that Will Reynolds, as Atlantic County Prosecutor is the chief law enforcement officer for all 23 municipalities in Atlantic County.
Reynolds hit the ground running and hadn’t looked back. He is improving operations and overall communication between the various agencies in a profound way.
We urge Sarkos to spend more time with Reynolds and less time with Marty Small.
There is another troubling example that has presented itself this past week that I am still wrestling with before deciding exactly how I am going to handle it.
Was I wrong about Atlantic City Police Chief Jim Sarkos?
The “Jury” is still out.
My faith in Sarkos is shaken.
Hope is not a strategy … However, where Sarkos is concerned … I am still hoping for the best.
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