Joint policing talks falter amid controversy

Talks between Millville and Ocean View regarding a joint police force seem to have run their course.

Citing a strong lack of interest among many of his constituents and their apprehension to combine forces with Ocean View, Millville Mayor Donald Minyon said that, although there was no formal vote taken, the Millville council had come to a consensus at their latest workshop to not request discussions with Ocean View regarding a joint police force.

“A lot of citizens were calling and asking us not to pursue talks,” explained Minyon. “And some of the council was afraid of the political situation in Ocean View and the uncertainty about the council. There were so many letters to the editor, so much negativity. We don’t want to be in all that controversy.”

Minyon has said he has great respect for Ocean View’s police chief, Ken McLaughlin, and would be open to the idea of a regional police force, which he said would level the playing field for Millville.

“Since Ocean View already has an established police department with the most knowledgeable chief we know, if they would pursue legislation [regarding a regional force], certainly we would look at it then, because then it would be equal. As it is now, they would be dictating to us. It would take legislation – maybe a few years, if it did get through – but we would still consider a regional force.”

Ocean View Mayor Gordon Wood has said he does not personally have authority to and, at this time, will not request council authority to pursue the possibility of a regional police force. He said he is discouraged that talks about a joint force between the two towns have ceased.

“At least one member of our council has demonstrated to Millville that Ocean View is impossible to work with. And newspaper statements attempting to set conditions have also been counterproductive,” he said. “Did anybody ever lose anything by talking?” he countered.

“It is my belief that Ocean View and Millville have lost something beneficial to both because of Millville’s perception of our ability to work with them,” he continued. “Even in the face of a 4-0 vote by the Ocean View Town Council, if you read the newspapers, can you say they are wrong?”