Haledon's Special Police Officers
Make Quality Policing
By Domenick Stampone, Esq.
While small by most standards, the Haledon Police Department has the very large responsibility of protecting and serving the residents of our densely-populated community. Haledon Borough in Passaic County is sandwiched between the third largest city in the state and a thriving 11,000-student state university campus. Each day, our dedicated uniformed Haledon Police officers deal with a variety of public safety situations. The fiscal reality facing every municipality is especially challenging to a community like Haledon, which has seen a significant reduction in revenue. We’ve had to get creative to provide the high quality law enforcement services our residents expect without additional cost.
Haledon relies on highly-trained and motivated volunteers to provide additional manpower and alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with police overtime.
Enter our Class I and Class II Special Police Officers. These highly-trained and motivated volunteers provide additional manpower when necessary and alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with police overtime.
For the uninitiated, Class I Special Police Officers receive three months of police academy training and are able to enforce parking and traffic issues. They do not carry a firearm and do not have full arrest powers. Class II Special Police Officers receive six months of intensive training and are fully certified Police Officers. They have full arrest and ticketing powers and do carry a weapon.
Our Special Officers are men and women who seek to help their community. They have their own rank structure, which we have found encourages their continued devotion and promotes professionalism within their division. While most of their activities and duties are on a volunteer basis, some activities are compensated at a minimal hourly rate. Our regular Police Officers support our special officers. The volunteers free our regular force members from time-consuming responsibilities, so they can focus on law enforcement objectives and activities.
Our Special Police force has proven to be an integral part of our community policing efforts. Our Special Officers perform regular foot and bike patrols of our streets. They have forged personal relationships with both residents and business owners. These relationships have strengthened communications between the community and the police department. This type of community policing has fostered both trust and confidence. Their presence in our parks and on the streets is a crime deterrent. Additionally, our Special Officers check on the homes of vacationing residents during their regular rounds.
Our community outreach programs have been vastly improved and increased by our Special Police Officers. They have provided tours of the police department to Girl Scout troops and other organizations. Our Special Officers also assist with our yearly fishing derby and safety day.
In addition to providing extra manpower during specialized situations, the Special Officers provide assistance when needed. Special Officers oversee sporting events and provide additional coverage during special events such as parades, fireworks celebrations, concerts and other town events. Having the extra manpower affords our borough the opportunity to host such special events. Our regular police force is not large enough to accommodate such events. It also saves the town the cost of paying regular officers the overtime to host such events.
The Special Officers have also proven essential for emergency responses to natural disasters. During Hurricane Irene, they were able to man our designated disaster shelters. During such natural disasters, manpower is the key to success. Our governing body is confident that should the need to evacuate or make safety notifications to residents arise, it can be done quickly, safely and with the utmost care given to our community.
Haledon is fortunate to have the benefit of our Special Police division which provides additional community policing efforts and supports our police department goals at minimal cost to the taxpayers.
Special thanks to Deputy Chief Kevin
Gottheiner who assisted in the preparation of this article
Originally published in New Jersey
Municipalities, Volume 89, Number 6, June 2012