On Wednesday afternoon, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced he ordered that his office assume complete authority over the Springfield Police Department.
The assumption of authority comes after last night's resignation of Captain Peter Davis from his leadership position in the force, which left the department without a commanding officer.
Early this morning, Township Administrator Anthony Cancro contacted the Union County prosecutor's office to alert them of the captain's resignation and request the county's assistance with the department.
"My concern for the residents of Springfield was that they have professional law enforcement leadership," Cancro told Patch.
Prosecutor Romankow notified Cancro and Springfield's elected officials this afternoon that his office would immediately assume responsibility over the department.
Captain Carl Riley of the Union County Prosecutor's Office will become Acting Officer In Charge of the Springfield Police Department. Captain Riley is a 20-year law enforcement veteran, having served with the Shrewsbury Police Department in Monmouth County and as a detective in the Essex County Prosecutors Office narcotics unit. He will take control of day-to-day operations on the force, starting Thursday morning.
"I'm very grateful to the Union County Prosecutor's Office for acting so quickly and professionally in providing us with one of their top officers," Cancro said.
Township officials were likewise optimistic.
"I look forward to working with the prosecutor's office in re-building our department to a point where it is once again a fully functioning organization," Committee member Hugh Keffer said in an e-mail.
Neither the prosecutor's office nor Township officials know how long Riley will be at the post. In their announcement, the prosecutor's office said Riley would hold the position "until such time as he determines the designation is no longer necessary." Cancro said he believed the Township would have someone hired as highest-ranking officer sometime around the fall.
The current highest-ranking officers on Springfield's 43-person force are sergeants. Davis was the only captain in the department, and the township eliminated the lieutenant position several years ago in a cost-saving measure.
"This will ensure the cohesiveness and stability in the police department to ensure public safety and we look forward to working with the township as they begin the search for new leadership in the department," said Prosecutor Romankow in a statement.
Editor's note: the first version of this article misspelled Mr. Cancro's last name. We regret the error.