For the prosecutors, Abram A. Lebson and Landau & Mehler (William George, of counsel).
For the defendants, Walter W. Weber (John Milton and Thomas McNulty, of counsel).
Before Justices Bodine, Heher and Perskie.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
HEHER, J. Prosecutors assail an ordinance adopted by the defendant borough on April 13th, 1939, entitled "An ordinance abolishing the Police Department in the Borough of Allendale and repealing an ordinance entitled 'An ordinance to regulate and establish a Police Department in the Borough of Allendale,' passed and approved September 13th, 1928." A preamble declared that it was "in the best interests of the
inhabitants" of the borough "that the Police Department be abolished and that necessary police protection be provided on a more economical basis."
In sum, these are the asserted grounds of invalidity argued: (1) The point that "reasons of economy" motivated the challenged municipal action "is not made in good faith, but is a subterfuge in order to oust prosecutor from his office;" (2) the action so taken "was contrary to and in violation of the overwhelming protests of more than seventy-five per cent. of the legal voters and was, therefore, arbitrary, oppressive, illegal and contrary to the substantial rights not only of the prosecutor Reimer, but of all the inhabitants of the Borough;" (3) the substituted police system "results in a serious impairment of the security of the lives, persons and property of the inhabitants" of the borough, "and a saving at such a price is against public policy;" and (4) the ordinance "was the product of a malicious effort to oust" prosecutor Reimer "from his office of Chief of Police by indirect means and without the formality of charges and hearing thereon."
We find nothing of substance in any of these contentions.
The evidence establishes, as was avowed in the preamble to the ordinance, that retrenchment was the governing body's objective. There is an utter lack of proof of bad faith. Prior to the adoption of the ordinance thus repealed, September 13th, 1928, the municipality was policed under what has been termed the "marshal system." The police department established under the repealed ordinance consisted, at the time of the passage of the repealer, of a chief and two full-time patrolmen. Part time service was rendered by six marshals. Following the adoption of the repealer, the "marshal system" was restored. The six marshals were continued in service and and nine more were appointed, all to be compensated for services rendered in accordance with the need. While denied by prosecutor Reimer, the proofs reveal that he was tendered the post of chief marshal, and declined it. He would not submit to a reduction of compensation.
The change effected an annual saving in the police budget of approximately $5,000. The yearly cost of police protection had increased from ...