WILDWOOD CREST — Cape May County’s Prosecutor’s Office has been asked to temporarily monitor the borough’s Police Department, Mayor Carl Groon said Monday.
Groon, who oversees public safety for the borough, said the Prosecutor’s Office became involved at his request.
“There’s a review of some procedures,” Groon said. “This is really a long-term review.”
Prosecutor Robert Taylor said Monday that his department was “asked by the borough to monitor the Police Department” as it undergoes a transition in leadership. He said his office has monitored other departments, and the level of involvement by his office is different in each case.
The change in the 23-member Wildwood Crest Police Department comes following the retirement, effective Dec. 31, of Chief Thomas DePaul.
DePaul, who served as a summer officer before joining the department full-time on March 15, 1985, became chief on March 21, 2002, and retired at the end of 2013, earning a final annual salary of $136,732.
DePaul said Monday that he would have retired sooner, but some issues within the department delayed his retirement.
“There is an investigation going on there, an internal investigation,” DePaul said, explaining he could not discuss details of the investigation.
DePaul was hired as the director of the Cape May County Police Academy on Sept. 1. He said he was able to hold both jobs by using accrued time off from Wildwood Crest or working as chief when he wasn’t at the academy.
Meanwhile, Wildwood Crest Police Capt. David Mayer has been named the department’s officer in charge, Groon said. Mayer earns $111,417 annually.
Mayer said he couldn’t comment on the internal investigation, but he said the Prosecutor’s Office was “more or less a liaison if any issues come up pertaining to the investigation.”
Groon said the Prosecutor’s Office was helping the department as it reviews its policies and procedures. DePaul said the Prosecutor’s Office was available on an as-needed basis to help Mayer.
“If the captain needs some help, he’ll call my captain,” Taylor said. Taylor said the Prosecutor’s Office is not staffing the police department, and its involvement is often limited to just minutes a day.
“They’re there to assist us and assist me,” Groon said, adding he didn’t expect the Prosecutor’s Office “to be here very long.”
He said residents would not be affected by the changes in staffing or the Prosecutor’s Office activities related to the department.
“There’s no change in the level of service, none whatsoever,” Groon said.
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