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Police chief, suspended after allegedly arriving to crash scene 'drunk,' takes early retirement
Composite screenshot of police bodycam footage in Alison M. Ertl YouTube video (pictured: Chief Leonard Guida and an unidentified police officer)

Police chief, suspended after allegedly arriving to crash scene 'drunk,' takes early retirement

A New Jersey police chief who has spent decades in law enforcement will take an early retirement after his presence at a crash scene investigation last fall resulted in a heated argument with one of his subordinates.

As Blaze News previously reported, on the evening of November 9, Sgt. William Major of the Bradley Beach Police Department was attending to a suspected alcohol-related car crash when Police Chief Leonard Guida suddenly arrived on the scene wearing street clothes and behaving in a way that suggested he may have been under the influence. Through occasionally slurred and erratic speech, Guida chastised Major for his police jacket, which Guida described as "unfit to be worn."

Guida then continued to disrupt the investigation, bodycam footage showed, when Major lost his cool, hoisting Guida up by the torso and slamming him on the hood of a police cruiser. Major claimed that Guida was "drunk again" and had tried to grab his arm.

"Don’t you touch me!" Major yelled. "Don’t you f***ing touch me! You have a problem? You grabbed me! Now, get out of here before you get a problem."

"Chief, you’re gonna get locked up," Major continued. "You’re grabbing me. I asked you three times to leave me alone. You’re obstructing my DWI. … You grabbed me. You were out of line."

Guida suspended Major on the spot and demanded that he return to precinct headquarters to discuss their issues. Major refused, claiming that he did not have to if he was indeed suspended.

After the incident, Major did serve a brief suspension before returning to duty. Guida, on the other hand, was immediately placed on paid administrative leave while the county prosecutor's office investigated it as required by state guidelines.

Last week, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office issued its report to Bradley Beach officials for "review." Now, Mayor Larry Fox has announced that Guida will retire from office effective this Friday, a full six months before his scheduled retirement date.

"I’d like to thank Chief Guida for his 40+ years of service to our borough," Fox said in a statement. "Under his leadership, our community has become a much safer place to live."

Capt. James Arnold, who has acted as police chief during Guida's suspension, will assume the role of police chief officially upon Guida's retirement. "The Bradley Beach Police Department is comprised of an amazing group of men and woman," Arnold said in a statement. "Our primary focus has always been on serving the residents of this community and ensuring their safety. We will not lose focus of that. We will continue to work together as a team as we move forward towards a brighter future."

Still, not everyone is happy with the way the process unfolded. Councilwoman Kristen Mahoney claimed that Fox kept all borough councilmembers from weighing in on the decisions regarding Guida. "We have ordinances in place where the council and the mayor make these decisions jointly," Mahoney told News 12. "And I feel bad for the residents that this has been done unilaterally without the council's input because that's the way that things are supposed to work in this town."

Council President Jane DeNoble agreed, claiming Fox "ignored ... numerous requests for an Executive Session to review the prosecutor’s report and to participate in the decision process.

"Clearly, Mayor Fox has no intention to include the Council in making decisions and once again, we the taxpayers will have to foot the bill."

Fox did not respond to the New York Post's request for comment. Guida did not respond to Blaze News' request for comment. Major declined previous requests for comment.

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