Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mayor Zimmer announces revitalized Hoboken Police Department

Office of the mayor announces:



MAYOR ZIMMER ANNOUNCES POLICE REDEPLOYMENT PLAN TO DRASTICALLY BOOST STREET PATROLS AND SAVE POLICE JOBS

The Zimmer Administration is announcing a series of actions and initiatives, including a police redeployment plan, that save taxpayers money, enhance community safety, and avoid the layoffs of police officers through retirements and the previously announced interlocal agreement with the Hoboken Housing Authority.

"Today, I am proud to announce that we are achieving the cost savings our taxpayers need while improving safety and avoiding layoffs. From the beginning, I've stated that each retirement submitted will save an officer from being laid off. Everyone in our community wins, and I am incredibly thankful to everyone who worked constructively over the past few weeks to make this happen," said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. "I want to be very clear: This was never about political agendas. This is about doing what's in the best interest of all of the people of Hoboken."

Mayor Zimmer's redeployment plan, which was developed with and embraced by Police Chief Falco, reorganizes the Police Department to be as efficient and effective as possible and ensures resident safety by dramatically increasing on-street patrols.

"Through redeployment and civilianization of certain positions, we are drastically increasing the number of police personnel assigned to patrol Hoboken's streets by 38 percent from 72 to 99 officers," said Mayor Zimmer.

Additionally, in order to enhance community safety when activity is highest and restaurants and bars are crowded with residents and visitors, a power shift will be instituted increasing patrol coverage by up to 16 officers between the hours of 8pm and 4am.

The plan calls for technology upgrades to police vehicles and phones, substantial improvements to the fleet, and begins discussions regarding a new Police building.

On Wednesday, September 22, the Housing Authority unanimously approved an interlocal agreement established between the Administration and Housing Authority Executive Director Garcia. The agreement, which also calls for the creation of a Public Safety Resident Council, will improve safety for area residents, save taxpayers money, and save five police jobs.

"I'm very pleased that through my Administration's initiatives with the Police Department, police unions, and the Housing Authority, we were able to realize the cost savings we need to potentially avoid any officers losing their job," said Mayor Zimmer. "In addition to the five jobs saved through the Housing Authority Bureau, we have already accepted the retirements of five police officers and the written commitment of an additional seven officers to retire by December 1st."

The Administration has learned that an additional officer on disability will not be returning to the force.

In addition to the five layoffs already averted through retirements, an additional five layoffs will be averted when the agreement between the City and the Housing Authority is approved by the City Council and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The remaining layoffs will be postponed until December 2nd, and will be cancelled if the expected retirements occur. Civil Service law also requires the temporary postponement of the demotions until that time.

"Both unions have committed to resuming negotiations with the City," said Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin. "Although much work needs to be done, it is our hope that further cost savings can be effectuated through the negotiations process."

The layoffs of City Hall employees are still proceeding.

"I am incredibly appreciative of our employees and the hard work they do for the City," said Mayor Zimmer. "As I have said before, this is not in any way a reflection of their work. They are the victims of the fiscal challenges our City faces."

Highlights of Redeployment Plan

·        After full implementation of the redeployment plan on December 2nd, the size of the Police force will be reduced from 153 to 140 officers, including 5 from the Housing Authority Bureau.
·        The plan will correct the top-heaviness of the force through retirements and the implementation of demotions.
·        An additional 27 officers (from 72 to 99) – an increase of 38 percent – will be assigned to patrol our streets.
·        A power shift from 8pm to 4am will increase street patrols from approximately 9 officers to more than 20 officers during peak activity hours.
·        A revised Housing Authority Interlocal agreement will increase safety in the Housing Authority area by providing more consistent coverage through dedicated patrol division.

Net result: a more efficient force, focused on providing better public safety through a significant increase in street patrols.

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