North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco and Public Safety Commissioner Allen Pascual swore in five special law enforcement officers at the Sep. 13. Commissioners’ meeting.
As special law enforcement, the men will only work part-time. Because they are not full-time, they will not receive benefits such as unemployment or health insurance, which will be cheaper for the township.
However, they will have complete arresting authority within North Bergen. The hiring comes months after the commissioners adopted an ordinance expanding the special law enforcement position’s duties.
The five new recruits to the department are as follows: Byron Dominguez, 26; Paul Martinez, 24; Drew Micucci, 22, John Solan, and Jon Nunez (attended North Bergen High School)
The officers graduated from the Essex County Police Academy.
“This is the first time in the last 24 years that I’ve been here, and probably the first time in recent history, that we’re actually going to be putting special police officers out into the field on patrol,” said Police Chief Robert Dowd, just before the swearing-in.
“We’ve used special officers over the last six to eight years, mainly as court security personnel,” he said. “This year, I took some advice from the Union City police chief and the Hoboken police chief, both of whom I have a lot of respect for.”
Both police chiefs told Dowd that they’d been using special law enforcement officers in their towns, with great results.
“With budget constraints, trying to always grow the department is a challenge,” Dowd continued. “This is a new way that we’re going to grow our department a little bit.”
“I have to say, this is a really special day,” Pascual said, shortly afterward. “It’s been many years since we’ve had these types of police officers as part of the North Bergen Police Department. This is a great example of being aggressive and proactive.”
“We have people here with full powers, so it’s not a lesser situation,” Sacco added. “It’s going to beef up the security in our town, and there’s specific areas where they’ll be very important in making North Bergen a better and safer place to be.”
The officers will be walking different beats through the town, Dowd added. At the meeting, the commissioners also adopted an ordinance amending the NBPD’s table of organization to expand the number of special law enforcement officers from 12 to 18.
“This is a new way that we’re going to grow our department a little bit.” – Robert Dowd
National Hispanic Heritage Month
The commissioners kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month at the meeting. They adopted a resolution for a proclamation supporting the month. The town will hold a series of events in celebration through Oct. 15. According to a 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos make up 73 percent of North Bergen’s population. For a listing of all the events to be held, visit http://www.northbergen.org/_Content/pdf/HispanicHeritageMonth2017.pdf.
One Book North Bergen
North Bergen Public Library Director Sai Rao, along with Board of Trustees Vice President George Bartulovich, received a proclamation at the meeting honoring the One Book North Bergen program. Launched this summer, the initiative encouraged all residents to bond and communicate through reading.
Participants at different reading levels came together to read five different books, then shared their experiences at events the library held through September, each honoring a different book.
Rao also announced that the library recently received the 2017 Adult Literacy and Community Library Partnership Grant. The grant provides $94,800 towards adult basic education and ESL services.
The North Bergen Library will partner with the Hudson County Schools of Technology to offer different, free classes by certified HCST instructors. Each class will run 16 weeks.
Sewer video equipment
The commissioners also passed a resolution authorizing the purchase of sewer video inspection equipment. The total cost is said to be $116,346.
“In North Bergen, unlike a lot of communities, we inspect our own sewer lines with our own equipment, as opposed to bringing in a private contractor,” said Town Administrator Chris Pianese after the meeting. “We’ve saved hundreds of thousands of dollars over the year by doing that. This is an upgrade to our equipment that goes under the pipes and sewers in the ground. This should last another five years, and it’s a great investment for the community.”
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