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County Prosecutor’s Office To Assume Oversight Of FTPD July 1

Sources: Prosecutor's Office investigating FTPD's internal processes.

SCPO Chief of Detectives John Fodor. Photo: LinkedIn.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office will assume administrative oversight of the township police department on July 1, following the abrupt retirements of FTPD Chief Richard Grammar and Captain Greg Borlan.

Both Grammar and Borlan will retire as of June 30.

As of next month, John W. Fodor, the Prosecutor’s Office’s Chief of Detectives, will become the FTPD’s “Officer in Charge.”

Among Fodor’s duties, in addition to supervising the department’s day-to-day operations, will be to “oversee a top-to-bottom evaluation of the department, conducted by the Prosecutor’s staff and our Township Manager to ensure that the policies, procedures, personnel and operations of the department are best in class,” according to a statement read by Township manager Robert Vornlocker.

There was no official information given on why such an evaluation was deemed necessary. Vornlocker declined to answer questions about the action.

“My statement speaks for itself,” he said when asked.

Sources with knowledge of the events leading to the Council’s action confirmed that the Prosecutor’s Office is conducting an investigation into the “internal processes” of the FTPD’s administration, and that the investigation sprung from actions taken surrounding charges levied April 15 against FTPD Officer Matthew D. Ellery.

Ellery, who was on the force a little more than two years, was charged with driving under the influence of drugs while he was on duty on April 7.

The announced retirements of Grammar and his second-in-command, Borlan, came with no advance notice after the Council returned from its executive session at the June 11 meeting.

Neither Borlan nor Grammar were at the meeting.

Upon the meeting’s resumption, the Council unanimously passed a resolution – added as a result of the executive session – appointing Fodor to what is called a temporary position.

“This appointment is not intended to be permanent, but rather at the invitation of the Township Council and for such a period of time that the Township Council and I deem appropriate,” Vornlocker said in his statement.

“As stated by Prosecutor (Michael) Robertson, this evaluation is by no means a slight to the hard-working women and men of the Franklin Police Department who work every day to protect our township’s residents,” Vornlocker said in his statement. “This action is a further indication that your Mayor and Council have the public safety as its Number One priority and continue to strive for improvements in the delivery of these services.”

Grammar, a 31-year veteran of the township police force, became Chief in January 2018, following the 2017 retirement of former Chief Lawrence Roberts.

Grammar spent his entire career in the Franklin department, working his way through the ranks.

Borlan, a 26-year veteran, was promoted to the department’s only Captain’s rank in June, 2016. Borlan was promoted to Captain shortly after the position was restored in the department.

The last time the Somerset County Prosecutor intervened in the department was in 1992, when disgraced former Prosecutor Nicholas Bissell assigned nine of his office’s detectives to work on cases being handled by FTPD detectives.

At the time, Bissell said he was not satisfied with the “work product” that was coming out of the department.

Following is Vornlocker’s statement:

“Over the last three years we have experienced a significant turnover in the command staff of the township’s police department. We have now been informed that the chief and the captain, the department’s top two ranking officers, will retire at the end of this month. Our township attorney and I have met with the county prosecutor, Michael Robertson, and staff to outline the best direction forward for the department. Tonight Council will consider the Prosecutor’s offer of assistance and appoint John Fodor, the Prosecutor’s Chief of Detectives, to be the Officer in Charge of the Franklin Township Police Department.

“This appointment is not intended to be permanent, but rather at the invitation of the Township Council and for such a period of time that the Township Council and I deem appropriate.

“In addition to supervising the day-to-day operations of the department, Chief Fodor will be available to oversee a top-to-bottom evaluation of the department, conducted by the Prosecutor’s staff and our Township Manager, to ensure that the policies, procedures, personnel and operations of the department are best in class.

“As stated by Prosecutor Robertson, this evaluation is by no means a slight to the hard-working women and men of the Franklin Police Department who work every day to protect our township’s residents. This action is a further indication that your Mayor and Council have the public safety as its Number One priority and continue to strive for improvements in the delivery of these services.”

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