Capt. David Paprota was designated as Officer in Charge of the Lacey Township Police Department until a decision is made regarding the replacement of former Chief of Police William Nally.
The decision to appoint Paprota to Officer in Charge was made at the township Committee meeting on Thursday evening by a vote of 4-0. Committeeman Sean Sharkey was absent.
Paprota has been running the police department since Nally retired on Dec. 31, Deputy Mayor Gary Quinn said. He will remain in charge until the future leadership of the police department is determined.
“He’s doing an outstanding job in running the department,” Quinn said. “Right now I can tell you the department is running at 100 percent as far as being efficient. The captain’s leading our men, we have great men and women over there.”
The title of Officer in Charge will enable Paprota to perform the executive duties of a chief, including signing gun permits, which residents such as Douglass Fraleigh have expressed concern over.
“It’s not always practical to have as one chief goes out, another comes in so law has allowed to have (an Officer in Charge),” attorney Lauren Staiger said.
A decision to replace Nally has yet to be made and the Committee continues to explore its options, Quinn said, mentioning the possibility of promoting someone from within the police department or hiring a public safety director.
“We’re moving forward,” Quinn said. “We feel there is enough discussion in the community on both sides of the issue that we wanted to run through the whole process and at the end of the day make a decision which is going to be best for the department and the residents of this community.”
Paprota joined the police department in 1992 after serving with the Tinton Falls Police Department in Monmouth County, according to the Lacey Township Police Department's website. He was promoted to Captain in 2005 and currently serves as the department’s Patrol Division Commander. He earned a Doctorate Degree, Ed.D., from Seton Hall University in 2012, is a published author and has produced police training materials.
“I look forward to attending to the executive business of the department,” Paprota said. “In direct consultation with Committeeman Quinn as a liaison to the police department, I intend to move forward and implement progressive plans to improve operations at the police department.”
His first order of business will be initiating a crime alert on the police department’s website to allow residents access to timely information on criminal activity that may be affecting their neighborhoods, he said.
“We’re doing due diligence right now and we’re looking at all options and going through the vetting process. I can assure you, we’ll do the best thing for Lacey Township,” Mayor David Most said.
“You made the right decision so far,” Fraleigh said.