North Bergen Police Officers have had much to celebrate.
Officers Alfredo Echeverria and Roberto Ruiz were promoted to supervisory ranks after being sworn in by Mayor Nicholas Sacco in town hall on Nov. 6.
Ruiz, formerly a sergeant, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, and Echevarria, formerly a P.O, was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. North Bergen Chief Robert Dowd, dozens of NBPD officers, and the family and friends of Echevarria and Ruiz turned packed the room. Both officers have been on the force for more than a decade. Dowd said that he has confidence in both men.
“Roberto will be in charge of planning, staffing, directing resources, and he’ll act as a commanding officer. When the rest of us are sleeping, our lieutenants will be running this place,” Dowd said. “He’s taking on an intense responsibility, but I’m absolutely confident.
“Alfredo is a 12-year veteran of the department,” Dowd said. “He’ll be a mentor, he’ll teach and train and lead by example to provide a first line of supervision to our officers, and I know Alfredo will use his last 12 years here to get the job done.”
“We decided to keep public safety up in the numbers expected to keep this town safe,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “Our resident-only hiring policy also means a great deal, because when you don’t have that, you can be somewhat lopsided demographically. It’s important to keep our numbers up, and it’s important for people to see that they’re being kept safe by members of their own community. To our two officers moving ahead, congratulations, you’ve earned it.”
State-wide chiefs group gives North Bergen the nod
New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) Chairman Harry Delgado was also on hand, to award the department with a renewed status of accreditation from the organization.
Only about 34 percent of law enforcement agencies eligible to apply for the award are able to achieve it, Delgado said. The award honored the NBPD for three years, before it was required to apply for a renewal of its accredited status.
“Only about 23 percent of all law enforcement agencies in the state are able to make it happen twice,” Delgado said. “You’ve demonstrated that you meet our standards for best practices, and this agency continues to recognize problem-solving philosophies. I’d like to make it a point to say that the North Bergen Police Department has well exceeded many of the tenets of law enforcement accreditation. This agency enjoys a high level of public awareness and supports a great relationship between itself and the community through both public interactions and its social media platform.”
Dowd attributed the honor to all the officers and said that maintaining best practices had much to do with biweekly meetings in which officers workshop new programs and critique performances on every investigation.
The accreditation process involves NJSACOP evaluating dozens of a law enforcement agency’s standards.
At the administrative level, things like direction of personnel, fiscal control, internal affairs, discipline, organization, equipment, media relations, records, training, and weapons use are evaluated.
Personnel standards cover benefits, evaluation, promotions, recruitment plans, and background examinations.
Operations standards cover arrests, search and seizure, interviews, use of force, communications, response to emergencies, traffic safety enforcement, and critical incidents.
Investigative standards cover things like crime scene processing, evidence and property storage, juvenile matters, special investigations, and special operations.
There are also standards for how the department handles arrestees, detainees, and prisoners.
New standards included employee-involved domestic violence, domestic violence investigations, elder abuse, drug screening, electronic social media, special event planning, and suspicious activity reporting.
Part of the process also involved NJSACOP soliciting public feedback in which members of the public were requested to provide evaluations of the department’s ability to comply with NJSACOP’s best practice standards.