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Prosecutor overrules Atlantic City mayor’s ban on casino garage patrols

Atlantic City (Christina Mazza)

A move by Atlantic City’s mayor to end police patrols of casino parking garages took a double-hit Thursday, as the head of the Casino Reinvestment and Development Authority called the order “unfortunate” and the Atlantic County prosecutor issued a directive overruling the mayor.

A move by Atlantic City’s mayor to end police patrols of casino parking garages took a double-hit Thursday, as the head of the Casino Reinvestment and Development Authority called the order “unfortunate” and the Atlantic County prosecutor issued a directive overruling the mayor.

On Wednesday, Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo T. Langford issued an order instructing the city’s police force not to make regular patrols of any “private multi-level property.” The order seemingly precludes officers from patrolling casino parking garages; police had added the garages to their regular patrols late last month following a fatal carjacking in the parking garage of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino on Sept. 18.

CRDA Chairman James B. Kehoe on Thursday issued a statement urging Langford to work cooperatively with officials from CRDA and the city’s tourism district.

“It’s a new day,” Kehoe said. “We need to work together to ensure a safe and viable future for A.C.’s residents and visitors.”

But that same afternoon, Atlantic County Prosecutor Theodore F. L. Housel issued a directive ordering the city’s police department to disregard Langford’s order and resume patrols of the garages, according to a report in The Press of Atlantic City.

The dust-up comes amid a major push by state officials to revive the city and its casino industry. Those efforts included the creation of the tourism district, which is overseen by CRDA and charged with developing and implementing a master plan for the city’s tourist zones. Part of that process is improving the cleanliness and safety of the city.

Kehoe said Thomas Gilbert, commander of the tourism district, has been working with the city’s police department on the latter goal.

“This kind of internal conflict does not help the situation,” Kehoe said. “It is time the mayor understood we are all in this together.”

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