STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ – Stafford Township Councilman George Williams criticized his fellow town leaders for continuing to halt funding to an understaffed police department this week.
Williams said the town is funding an estimated $6 million dollar loan for a new library but continues to underfund the township’s police department.
“A lot of people in here don’t understand or don’t know that 20 years ago my parents were murdered by a police officer. I was part of the biggest mass murder in Ocean County history. I lived in Toms River. A Seaside Heights cop kicked in my parents’ door and shot them both 27 times,” he said. “For three years, I hated every cop because they all stuck up for this cop. Then one day a cop came up to me and sat me down for an hour and told me they had a bad apple. From that point on, I was pro-cop.”
“When you’re building a town, the first thing has to be safety and security for your town, it can’t be the library,” Williams said. “When you build a library and don’t have enough people on the police force, you’re putting the library over the cops.”
Williams said there was frustration in the community over the town and the mayor’s decision to instead build a new library, in an age when most people utilize online services for research and reading.
“Since we don’t have a fully-funded police force, the next step below that is defunding the police,” Williams said. “There’s no step below a not-fully funded police force.”
Williams was interrupted by Councilman, Anthony Guariglia, “George, stop.”
“I didn’t interrupt you for anything, so don’t interrupt me for anything, so sit there with your little hat and let me say what I have to say,” Williams responded. “I know you don’t like the cops.”
“I come from a family of cops,” Guariglia said. “Don’t give me that shit.”
“We’re short 7 cops. If you like the cops, then go tell everyone here that you’re going to hire 7 cops, do it right now,” he said. “You’re going to give a fully funded police force…you can’t do it. It’s impossible for you.”
Williams said at this point, he’ll settle for five cops instead of 7 if he has to.
“I don’t like heroin on our streets,” Williams ended. Residents criticized the council for the council’s decision to spend so much money on a library.