The North Bergen Board of Commissioners has adopted an ordinance that amends township policies regarding extra-duty police services, including lowering the rate it charges to certain entities.
Extra-duty services are when members of the police department engage in police-related activities for private entities. Compensation for the services is paid to the municipality, which is then dispersed to the individual officers through a special trust fund.
The superseding ordinance is the second time in recent years that the township has updated its policy regarding extra-duty police services, with the last time being in 2015. Now, according to the ordinance, “there is now a need to update” the pre-existing ordinance again to “clarify the emergency services timelines and update provisions concerning the entities that use extra-duty police services on a recurring basis.”
Any entity desiring the services must enter into a written contract with the township to outline the nature of the duties to be performed, the location, the number of officers and equipment involved, the date and hours, and the rate of payment. The payment must be provided in advance for the services. According to the ordinance, the advance payment can be up to 200 percent of the estimated costs of the services. Only emergency extra-duty police services can be exempted from this by the Chief of Police.
Rates and fees
The cost for extra-duty police services is $99 per hour, per officer. The holiday and weekend rate is now $144 per hour, per officer. The rate for the use of a police vehicle is $125 per vehicle for up to eight hours. After eight hours, a rate of $10 an hour is charged. The township will keep $8 per hour, per officer as an administration fee.
If agreed to between the township and the officer, an additional $6 per hour can be withheld for a Good and Welfare Allocation which can be used for scholarships, donations, fundraising, and union events among others. The township will keep the entire fee related to the use of police vehicles.
There are some exceptions to the ordinance for entities that have already negotiated long-term contracts for extra-duty police services. This includes: the ShopRite at 3147 Kennedy for $53 per hour per officer, with a $5 per hour per officer administration fee kept by the township; the North Bergen School District for $48 per hour per officer for special events during or after school hours, with no fees.
The contract for the district also includes for general police presence for $20 per hour per special police officer and $25 per hour per regular police officer. Starting July 1, 2022, the rate for all officers assigned for general police presence for the district will increase to $28 per hour per officer. The ordinance also allows for the department to charge $48 per hour per officer, without fees, for other public entities including the township’s Municipal Utilities Authority or the Housing Authority.
Chief of Police Peter Fasilis is responsible for the assignment of all extra-duty police services, volunteers who will be rotated in on a regular basis. At the Nov. 23 board meeting, Fasillis described the changes being made to the policy at the request of Mayor Nicholas Sacco.
“We haven’t touched this ordinance in many years,” he said. “So we are just bringing us toward the middle of the pack and more consistent with the other rates in Hudson County and southern Bergen County. This is the extra-duty assignments, that’s some road details, also some security.”
Fasilis said some of the rates were lowered for certain entities, bringing the township toward the middle of the rates charged in the area.
“It’s also going to include, like for the school, lower rates for some non-township jobs, like the public utilities company,” he said. “I think it’s a good move forward and it gives us some flexibility, especially with part-time officers to get enough hours.”
According to Fasilis, the move to helps part-time officers get more hours will help increase police presence and availability for these assignments.
“They’re limited because they are part time,” he said. “So now we’ll increase the amount of coverage we get with the part time officers.”
The commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance.
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