Home » Pennington Police Chief Plans 2025 Retirement, Council Moves Forward with Key Initiatives

Pennington Police Chief Plans 2025 Retirement, Council Moves Forward with Key Initiatives

by Lynn S. Robbins

Mayor James Davy introduced the June 3 Pennington Borough Council meeting with a short list of business items including – to the ears of some attendees, a startle-worthy announcement: Pennington Borough Police Chief Doug Pinelli has decided to retire from his position, effective February 2025.

Mayor’s announcement

Pinelli, who was present at the meeting, did not comment on his decision, but in a later phone interview with MercerMe, he said, “It’s time for a change,” mentioning the two-plus decades he has held positions in Pennington and the Hopewell region. 

He joined the Pennington Police Department as a patrol officer in 2004, was eventually promoted to Sergeant, and was promoted to Chief of Police in 2020. In October 2023, he was appointed by the Mayor as the Borough’s Emergency Management Coordinator. Prior to working for the Police Department, he worked at Pennington’s fire company where he became the fire chief. 

During his interview with MercerMe, Pinelli addressed the May 13 special council meeting where the Mayor and Council met to dispel rumors that the Borough may eliminate its local police department and enter into a shared service with Hopewell Township. At that meeting, both Council members and Pennington residents praised Pinelli and the officers for their service and commitment to the community. 

“I appreciate all the kind words, not only for myself but for the entire department,” Pinelli said, adding that his decision to retire was just coincidental and unfortunate timing.

Pinelli said he will continue serving as Police Chief until February 2025. Looking ahead, he expects to continue serving Pennington as Emergency Management Coordinator unless the Borough has other plans for that position.

Environmental Commission takes action on several projects

In a presentation on Pennington’s Environmental Commission, Chair Kieran John announced that the group has received a $1500 grant the from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC). Pennington will use the money to plant trees and create and post QR codes that will provide information about the trees or projects the commission is involved with.

The Commission is aiming for another grant offered by the New Jersey Clean Energy Project (CEP) which focuses on energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.

Kieran John reviewed several of the Commission’s projects: 

  • Environmental resource inventory: They are finalizing the document which includes land use, open space, water resources, wastewater and solid waste management, climate and air quality, light and noise pollution, vegetation and wildlife, and more.
  • Municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4): The Commission stays informed about stormwater runoff and the MS4 permit which defines pollutants (heavy metals, oil, solvents, bacteria, etc.) that cannot be discharged into the ground or bodies of water. This project is driven by Pennington’s Public Works department.
  • Carbon neutral initiatives: The Commission is working with the Borough toward becoming carbon neutral with a target date of 2035 through reducing carbon emissions, preserving open space, and other pollution control solutions.
  • Planning: The Commission is contributing to Pennington’s revised Master Plan which can be viewed on the Borough website.
  • Communication and collaboration: These efforts involve working with municipal commissions, committees, and volunteers and engaging residents at public events and on the Commission’s web page. His goal is to include interactive games, quizzes and maps.

Kieren John said an important commitment of the Environmental Commission is to do more than react to environmental issues but to anticipate them, take action to prevent potential problems and make the best use of existing resources.

Witness Stones Ceremony: an uplifting event

Borough Administrator GP Caminiti spoke about the Witness Stones Ceremony which took place at Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell Township on May 16.

“It was a heart-lifting ceremony,” Caminiti said.

The event honored an enslaved woman, Nance, and her six children who once lived in the Pleasant Valley section of Hopewell Township. Eighth-grade students from Timberlane Middle School gave presentations at the ceremony organized by the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SAAM).

Other meeting topics

The Mexican restaurant La Unica at 20 North Main Street will be offering outdoor dining, thanks to Council’s approval of a resolution granting conditional authorization.

The Holistic Hub cannabis store has changed its address listing to Hopewell Township. Borough attorney Walter Bliss reported that the address had been incorrectly listed as Pennington.

Parks and Recreation Events:

  • Summer Concert, Howe Commons, June 14, 6pm
  • 4th of July Races, Pennington School track, 9am

Library news:

  • The Adult Summer Reading Program started June 1 and runs through August 31. Participants will write book or library program reviews and enter to win prizes throughout the summer, plus a Kindle at the end of the season.
  • The Kids’ Summer Reading Club runs June 18 to August 2. The club offers several activities (to be announced), game boards, prizes, and a chance to win a Kindle.

The next Borough Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 1.

Caption: Mayor Davy honored the Pennington Police Department at the Woolsey Park bandshell dedication. See Bandshell Dedication Honors First Responders and Celebrates Diversity.

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