Decades ago, this practice was initiated under former Atlantic City, New Jersey mayor Jim Whelan, and it has always been considered wrong.
The issue remains unresolved to this day, and it is even more pressing now under the leadership of the current mayor of Atlantic City, Marty Small.
Craig Callaway was a well-known political activist long before he became the Atlantic City Council President and was on his way to becoming the next Mayor of Atlantic City. He was known for his unwavering stance against the Jim Whelan agenda in Atlantic City and was highly vocal about it.
Callaway gained notoriety for accompanying Whelan everywhere he went, brandishing his bullhorn and using it to voice his protests against Whelan on an almost daily basis.
After making these accusations, Whelan went on to depict Callaway and his loved ones as a possible danger to his safety. This led to Whelan receiving a protection detail from the Atlantic City Police Department.
In my opinion, Callaway did not need to be reminded about controlling his verbal expressions as he was already quite expressive in that aspect. However, I never witnessed any indication of him being prone to physical violence.
Despite its initial intention to only serve as a temporary measure, the mayoral executive protection detail ended up becoming a permanent fixture.
During Whelan’s tenure as Mayor of Atlantic City, the city had approximately 400 police officers on its force.
As of present, the count of full-time police officers is only 291 and there are 21 Class II officers.
At all times, two Atlantic City Police Officers accompany Mayor Small.
Personally, I believe that having a protection detail would be a good idea, but only if there is a genuine threat present. However, I do not think that it should become a permanent policy.
Getting into the back seat of a late model SUV with a driver and expert police protection must be a luxurious experience.
However, this action is not only incorrect but also an exploitation of the services funded by the taxpayers of Atlantic City.
This is completely unacceptable as it means that two Atlantic City Police Officers are being taken away from performing essential public safety functions.
During my research, I had the opportunity to converse with various officials working in both the executive and legislative branches of the Atlantic City government.
Small’s reputation for political retaliation precedes him, causing individuals to refrain from going on the record due to fear of potential backlash.
As I talked to various individuals, I found that none of them supported the cruel practice at hand. Everyone I spoke with was against it.
It’s not uncommon for elected officials to take a temporary solution and turn it into a permanent entitlement. This is yet another example of such behavior.
It is imperative that the state of New Jersey takes action to put an end to this deplorable practice. The mistreatment and abuse of individuals should not be tolerated, and it is the responsibility of the government to step in and ensure that justice is served. Immediate action must be taken to put a stop to this harmful behavior and to prevent it from occurring in the future.
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