STATEMENT BY LT. DARRIN RUSSO ON RECENT ATTACKS BY THE PARENTI CAMPAIGN:
"I am disappointed at Chief Parenti’s willingness to launch cowardly attacks against myself and dozens of officers in Franklin Township. For over thirty years I worked with these men and women to protect the public and build better relationships with our community. I am asking Chief Parenti to apologize to the officers whose character he is impugning.
As Mr. Parenti is aware, a policy was overseen by former Franklin Township Police Chief Larry Roberts who is now advising Mr. Parenti’s Republican campaign. Under the policy, officers could apply to use work time to participate in community events such as the Fourth of July fireworks, or a West African celebration, or a local charity fundraiser. Each application would require the Chief’s signature. Myself and dozens of officers followed those guidelines and used this policy to develop a rapport with the public that we found helpful in achieving lower crimes rates and a safer Franklin. The administration of that program now finds itself under investigation, and I trust former Chief Roberts is cooperating fully with all investigative efforts. Obviously, if this outside investigation finds that the Department inappropriately administered this program resulting in abuse, the time should be repaid and the program should be either scrapped or revamped to ensure taxpayers are protected.
Given Mr. Parenti’s behavior and the charged political environment we find ourselves in, I expect baseless attacks launched from his campaign. That’s exactly what this is. "
BACKGROUND: August 23, 2019
[Somerville, NJ] - The Parenti for Sheriff campaign launched the second baseless attack of the week that shows the voting public exactly what kind of dirty, negative Trump-inspired campaign they want to run.
Parenti is personally attacking 30-year police veteran Darrin Russo, the Democratic candidate for Sheriff, over a contract negotiated and signed by former Franklin Mayor Brian Levine, now the Republican Freeholder Director, and Franklin Police Chief Larry Roberts, a prominent supporter of Parenti’s campaign who has been promised a job if the Republicans win.
The long-standing program in Franklin overseen by Chief Roberts encouraged officers to engage in community activities such as parades, children’s cancer fundraisers, union organizing, and activities that built positive relationships with townspeople. Every time an officer wanted to take part in such an activity, the time card had to be approved by Chief Roberts. Dozens of officers, including Darrin Russo, followed the guidelines provided to them by the Franklin Police Department.
“With the program overseen by his friends now under investigation, it’s not surprising the Republicans would grasp at anything to deflect criticism,” stated Somerset County Democratic Chairwoman Peg Schaffer. “Either Mr. Parenti lacks the courage to call out friends and political benefactors when he sees something with which he disagrees, or this baseless attack on Darrin Russo is nothing more than fake rage directed at a political opponent. It’s an almost perfect implementation of the Trump playbook of attacking opponents for his own weakness.”