NEPTUNE — The police chief of an embattled Monmouth County police department has threatened to sue the township to stop a plan that would place civilian oversight over police operations.

According to the Asbury Park Press, Chief James Hunt's lawsuit would be filed based on his objections to a three-member panel that would replace the current oversight role held by township CFO and police director Michael J. Bascom. The committee, according to the story would consist of two Township Committee members and a third civilian member.

South Brunswick Chief Ray Hayducka, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, said the proposed change could inject politics into the department.

Police chiefs in the state oppose both civilian directors and civilian review boards. Proponents say civilian oversight is sometimes necessary to promote accountability and community trust.

The department has faced its own legal challenges in recent years, most notably in the aftermath of the murder of Tamara Wilson-Seidle by former Sgt. Philip Seidle. In a wrongful death suit filed by the children of the couple, the township was named as a defendant for not properly responding to domestic violence claims made against Phillip.

Three officers also have sued the township alleging racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

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