Turmoil on the Consolidated Princeton Police Force. Is Chief David Dudeck Being Forced Out?

David Dudeck has been the chief of Princeton Borough since 2009.
David Dudeck is chief of the consolidated Princeton police force.

Less than two months after consolidation, Chief David Dudeck  has been told by the town’s public safety committee that he can either retire quietly or be the subject of an investigation, police sources say.

Dudeck has until Monday to decide whether to fight charges that he allegedly created a hostile work environment by sometimes using inappropriate language and making inappropriate comments to officers at work, which some have described as “salty language” or “locker room language and locker room jokes.” More details on what he allegedly said have not been provided.

The Princeton Police Benevolent Association, the union for the consolidated Princeton that is headed by former Princeton Township Officer Ben Gering, has filed a workplace sexual harassment complaint detailing incidents witnessed by about half a dozen former Borough officers, sources said. At least one of the officers is gay and alleges Dudeck used slang language referring to homosexuals, a source said.

The complaint details 15 incidents since 2010 that Dudeck allegedly used bad language or made inappropriate comments in conversation with or in front of some officers.

No complaints were filed regarding the issue during Dudeck’s tenure as chief of the Princeton Borough Police Department, or during his 29-year tenure on the Princeton Borough Police Force. The Princeton Borough and Princeton Township police forces merged January 1.

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office would not discuss the case, but confirmed that a representative from the office met with the town’s public safety committee Wednesday. The public safety committee is comprised of Mayor Liz Lempert and Princeton Council members Heather Howard and Lance Liverman. The prosecutor’s office steps in whenever a complaint is lodged against a police chief.

“The office met with officials. There is no investigation at this time,” Spokeswoman Casey DeBlasio said in an email Thursday. “We have no further comment.”

Planet Princeton was tipped off about the meeting by a disgruntled former Princeton Borough police officer who was the subject of an internal affairs investigation when Anthony Federico was chief.

“Is there any surprise, really?” the source said about the charges against Dudeck. “After all, Dudeck is a Federico understudy.”

The source also claimed other top level officers who formerly were Borough officers are also “in the hotseat” for Dudeck’s comments.

When Planet Princeton interviewed Dudeck two weeks ago about a new community survey the police department will conduct starting this month, Dudeck seemed upbeat and said he felt the unified department was finally starting to gel.

Princeton Township police officers actively opposed consolidation, putting up anti-consolidation lawn signs and sending letters to residents telling them consolidation would threaten their safety.

Two Princeton Township officers competed with Dudeck for the job of chief of police. Elected Township officials favored putting acting chief Chris Morgan in as chief, but Dudeck and other Borough officers outranked him. A transition task force personnel committee unanimously recommended Dudeck.

A longtime football coach at the Hun School, Dudeck became chief of the Borough in 2009. He succeeded Anthony Federico, who died suddenly while on vacation in Maine. During Federico’s tumultuous tenure, several police officers were the subject of internal affairs investigations and the police force became divided. Dudeck was a lieutenant at the time.

Asking Dudeck to choose between stepping down or facing an investigation is one of the options the public safety committee could have chosen to resolve the issue, sources say. It is unclear if Dudeck has been offered some kind of package as a further incentive to retire. Dudeck could not be reached for comment. The last two chiefs for Princeton Township abruptly retired. Last year, Chief Robert Buchanan retired in March and was put on paid leave until the end of the year.


  1. This is disturbing news. They’re going to bust him for cursing? Nobody would have a job. My concern is that this is really a jealousy political attack on him, driven by people whom he beat out for the promotion. The “safety committee” should give the public more information before going ahead with this kind of action. It looks suspicious.

  2. Sounds Like a setup to me. I hope Chief Dudeck has a good lawyer and fights it.

  3. Looks like a selfish attempt to tarnish the reputation of a good man who has given 30 years of hard work to the town of Princeton. Not to mention his work has been very effective. Crazy what people will do for their personal betterment. I hope chief Dudeck chooses to dismantle this week cry for attention

  4. Pure response piece to try and lesson the damage from the Trentonian article. Same with all the lame self promotion comments below.

  5. Pure response piece to try and lessen the damage of the Tentonian article. The planet has ties with someone in management. This post keeps getting deleted.

    1. We do not have any personal ties with management and we are not deleting any comments. Discus doesn’t like links because of potential spamming, so if you have tried to post any links, the comment system might block them.

  6. What the? The borough police have done a great job for the past years under chief Dudeck. The people dissing him are ones who received “discipline” due to wrong doing in the past? Also, the township police resented that their own chief didn’t get the job? Hello, this all sounds very political and not at all fair. Let’s hear the alleged wrongdoing explained clearly, not some vague smear campaign on the chief.

    1. The only officers listed in the complaint are Borough officers. No Township officers complained. The Bororough officers range from Dispatchers to Captain Nicholas Sutter himself. Way more then three victims. More to come.

  7. If this complaint has merit or not, it just shows that the atmosphere in this combined force is as negative as the departments were split. Leadership has lacked in Princeton policing for the last several years. This crew needs someone from the outside to unite them, and lead by example not intimidation. Without new DIRECTION, the same old circus will continue.

  8. I just filled out my new community police survey with the following note. I would like a harrasment free workplace can the police do something about this?

  9. Same crap, consolidation was a mistake. dudeck is an excellent chief, with sour passed over colleagues. there should be a stop there being 6 police officers married to each other on the same force. guess nobody talks about that.

  10. To all concerned,

    There is someone who leads the Department everyday. He is respected by his officers, secretaries and all who work with and in the Police Department. He writes all policy, sets shifts and handles the majority of our on call phone calls. Those on patrol do not trust anyone to make a life and death decision but him. He is honest respectful and someone for all to look up to. If he would have been chief none of this would ever have happened. Above all he respects the rights of all the people regardless of race, color or sexual persuasion. Proof of this is to ask the Police officers who put their lives on the line every time they drive out on patrol who they trust to make a lawful instant decision in a dangerous situation. Ask the town counsil how this officer conducts himself when in meetings with the Mayor and counsil. He has a handle on police and citizen policy. His relationships with the diverse population of Princeton is excellent. To use a baseball analogy, he is like Lou Gehrig, who sat the bench until given a chance to play, and then never left the field! I am writing about Captain Nick Sutter

    1. What street cop fails to say, or fails to remember, is what part the good captain had in the matters of Chief Federico. The good captain was part and parcel to the down right untruths that Federico told to try to dominate, and the good captain went right along with it.I think that was known and why he didn’t make Chief. Fortunately a few stood up, and Feds dropped dead. The good captain is not the stand up guy you portray. He is well versed in how to screw someone, and I would bet he has something to do with this current overthrow attempt. So please street cop, don’t make us sick with the rosy review.

  11. I can’t wait until the names of the people backing these charges are released. Then people will be able to see the clear association/connection between those who didn’t receive promotions on the new consolidated police force, and those who are complaining. If you couldn’t put it together yourself…when people think they’ll get a promotion and don’t they end up mad, seeking revenge… that’s were Dudeck is victimized…and with consolidation (condensing, making smaller…less jobs) there was no way around this. Anyway I find it hard to believe a few phrases, words, gestures, actually effected the way his job had been completed these past couple of years. Give me a break, I know these are modern times and we’re supposed to be more “sensitive”, but you have to be mature enough to see what the objective of the police force is. Keep you people safe! Only princetonians would have enough time to give this BS (oops I made an inappropriate comment, fire me!!!) the time of day. God bless Dudeck and the rest of the good souls on the princeton police force…hope a few bad ones don’t ruin things.

Comments are closed.