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NJ prosecutor’s office to take over Fanwood police department after chief quits over comments he made

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Jeff Goldman

NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

The Fanwood police chief accused of making disparaging remarks about state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and another official has resigned, with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office to temporarily run the police department.

Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo.

Chief Richard Trigo quit on Friday, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement Monday.

On July 4 an audio recording surfaced in which a man — allegedly Trigo — called former acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park “pretty hot” and says “she got wide ones.” Park was the first Asian-American and woman to lead the prosecutor’s office in Union County.

Trigo also allegedly said of Grewal, the nation’s first Sikh state attorney general, “That..guy with the turban? I wanna pull him like a top.”

Trigo’s attorney, Joshua McMahon, didn’t immediately return a phone call and an email on Monday morning seeking comment.

On Friday, McMahon said the chief denied making the comments — claiming the recordings were “manipulated and spliced” by someone — and would not give up his job.

“Despite their transparent attempts to harm a good man, the chief remains committed to the community and bringing people together, as he has done for nearly three decades,” McMahon said in a statement Friday before the chief resigned. “I am confident Ms. (Acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V.) Ruotolo will abide by the long-standing norms of her office, and not comment on or prejudge the merits of any ongoing investigation, which the chief welcomes.”

Trigo has been working as an officer in Fanwood since 1991 and became chief in 2010. State pension records show he makes $171,521 annually.

The audio recording was posted on YouTube on July 4.

Ruotolo said Monday her office was exercising its supersession authority in assuming responsibility for the department, which serves the borough of about 7,700.

While a search is conducted for a new chief, Capt. Kevin Grimmer of the prosecutor’s office has been named Officer in Charge of the Fanwood police. A 30-year-veteran of law enforcement, Grimmer has worked for the prosecutor’s office for 16 years after previously being employed as a cop in Plainfield.

Prosecutor’s office Detective Nicholas Falcicchio has also been temporarily assigned to the Fanwood police department and will assist Grimmer in its day-to-day operations. Prior to joining UCPO in 2015, Falcicchio was a cop in Blairstown, where he temporarily served as an Officer in Charge at times.

Trigo’s resignation and the retirement of other senior members of the department would have left three sergeants as the highest-ranking officers.

The user who created the YouTube account, Fanwood Exposed, and posted the video could not be reached.

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NJ Advance Media staff writer Rebecca Panico contributed to this report.

Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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1 COMMENT

  1. “Trigo has been working as an officer in Fanwood since 1991 and became chief in 2010. State pension
    records show he makes $171,521 annually.”

    That’s an insane amount of money. The town only has 7,300 people.

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