A "stressed out" police officer who confronted Red Bank's mayor and criticized the city's former police chief began a 60-day leave of absence last week.
A one-paragraph memo about the decision in Red Bank personnel files mentions neither detail nor explanation, but Officer Bradley Hanon clarified his position Monday.
"I'm frustrated with everything that's going on in the department," he said. "The whole situation from start to finish has been tiring."
Acting as a dysfunctional police department's "voice" became too much, said Hanon, the same officer who filed a complaint against Red Bank Mayor Joe Glasscock for a July 6 argument in the parking lot of City Hall. The altercation stemmed from ex-Red Bank police chief Larry Sneed's sudden firing.
Hanon said the mayor grabbed his arm, poked him in the chest several times and yelled, "You handled this all wrong. ... You should have come to me!"
City Attorney Arnold Stulce has written that one police officer met with several commissioners and the city manager to discuss Sneed's management style.
Red Bank City Manager Chris Dorsey said there were "many reasons" behind the officer's extended break from patrol.
"I could give a long explanation which would answer why he left," Dorsey said, "but I don't know which parts I can talk about."
Dorsey credited his silence to a $1.5 million lawsuit Sneed filed against him and three city commissioners over the firing.
Since Sneed was let go, interim Chief Dan Knight has restructured the department, despite calls from Dorsey to be "slow and steady" while the city decides how to hire a permanent law enforcement leader.
The interim chief confirmed a shift change for Hanon and several others within the last few weeks.
"When you work for a police department, you say you can work any shift," Knight said. "I have heard no problems from anybody except for Officer Hanon."
Knight said changes are "improving things" at the department, but one policeman said the strategy isn't working.
"Morale doesn't seem like it's changed," Officer Mickey Robinson said Monday.
Dorsey defended the police department moves and said they are standard.
"It's not like we're overhauling the whole department and picking it up and shaking it," Dorsey said.