Gun violence is getting worse in Rahway

RAHWAY -- Fifty percent more people were shot in the city last year, according to the same State Police statistics that politicians are using to support claims that violent crime is down 35 percent.

Democrat James J. Devine said he would make police do more to gain the public's trust and cooperation and claimed politics is interfering with public safety.

"We pay our police chief more than a brigadier general, major general, or lieutenant general in the United States Army," said Devine. "Command over the United States armed forces not only reflects a greater level of responsibility but while police chief John Rodgers is a trusted political advisor in City Hall, he's not doing a very good job."

"Rahway police solved only one our of four reported crimes while gun violence is getting worse," said Devine. "There is a lack of leadership and accountability that leaves citizens unsafe."

Records show Rodgers was paid $178,916 in 2012. The police chief and his wife, who was paid $120,232 as a sergeant detective in the same department, are both members of the Union County Democratic Committee.

"Real Democrats would not mix politics and police work, because justice and public safety require the appearance of impartiality," said Devine. "Having political power protects the chief from accountability but it leaves the citizens unguarded."

Devine is challenging Samson Steinman in the June 3 Democratic primary election for mayor. As city council president when former Mayor Rick Proctor resigned in September, Steinman was appointed to the job on an interim basis.

"Kids are being shot in our streets and instead of confronting the problem, City Hall is covering up gun violence," said Devine. "I will put people first and work for sane regulations and effective law enforcement."

Claiming that violent crime is down 35 percent, Steinman dismissed Devine's argument that public safety is an issue in the city.