I am a Republican, through and through, but this year I am supporting Democrat Darrin Russo for Somerset County Sheriff. As the retired Chief / K9 Unit Commander of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, I have known and worked with Darrin on his Franklin Twp. PD Crime Suppression Unit for many years, and he has always been a difference maker in that community, which has lowered the violent crime rates almost in half over the past decade.
Darrin has snagged the key endorsement by the Local and State PBA, as well as the endorsements of the the Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association, the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, the Somerset County Education Association, and more. It should be noted Darrin’s opponent Bill Parenti’s police department is also a member of the PBA, so it speaks volumes that they have effectively now endorsed Darrin Russo for Sheriff as well.
In contrast, I cannot say the same about the Republican candidate for Sheriff, Bill Parenti of North Plainfield. Parenti’s time as the North Plainfield Chief brings up more questions then answers.
First you need to ask yourself about his effectiveness. On “day one” of Parenti’s time as chief, North Plainfield had the second highest violent crime rate in Somerset County. According to recent records published by the nj.com on June 21, 2018 titled “The town with the highest violent crime rate in each NJ County”, North Plainfield is now number one!
At the sheriff debate a month ago, Bill was asked why he was only now coming out with a plan for the opioid crisis when for his 14 years as Chief of North Plainfield has never even had a drug unit. “I wasn’t running for Sheriff then,” he said. Seriously he said that.
Bill Parenti also has a problem with honesty. From lying about his own police department endorsing him to twice this year making public attacks against Lieutenant Russo and the Franklin Twp. Police Department that the Prosecutor’s Office – in official documents- has publicly stated were false. Despite being shown the truth, Parenti continues to make the same false claims about Darrin’s time as an officer in TV ads and attack mailers. Bill needs to follow his own motto that negative campaigns don’t work.
Bill Parenti’s car, uniform, badge and service weapon were stolen from his house in 2018. But instead of telling the public that there might be an imposter police officer running around town with his identity, Bill Parenti chose to stay silent and put North Plainfield and all of the residents of the surrounding communities at risk. In the age of heightened school security and lockdown drills being the unfortunate norm for our children, Bill Parenti’s attempted cover-up of this crime speaks volumes and if he had it his way nobody would of ever known about the incident. I commend NJ101.5 radio for reporting on it and calling Bill Parenti out on this.
I’m sure this endorsement will raise the eyebrows of some of my fellow Republicans but anyone who knows me knows the Sheriff position is more then just ‘another’ political seat me. I worked there during my career- my kids grew up in that office, Dano’s Law was originated out of that office, and the men and women who wear the Sheriff Office uniform are family to me. During my primary run for this same office, the Sheriffs Officers FOP police union endorsed me and with that comes a responsibility from me to give them the best leadership possible for their future. And in this upcoming election the best choice for Somerset County Sheriff is Darrin Russo! As we saw above- police, fire, and teacher unions are all behind Darrin and so am I.
Vote for Darrin Russo for Sheriff on November 5th!