Police Vehicle Farce
Time for another Hoboken411 reality check! Two months ago the council passed a resolution directing Mayor David Roberts to stop all spending that doesn’t include salary and wages until a budget is approved. With only a month and a half to go before the fiscal year ends, Hoboken still doesn’t have an approved budget. In a story headlined “Freeze Standoff” in today’s
hardly read joke of a paper Jersey Journal, Police Benevolent Association president Vince Lombardi claims that the city council’s efforts are about to put public safety at risk.
Scare tactics or public safety crisis?
The paper quotes Lombardi as saying, “Right now there’s four police cars that are out of service for minor stuff. If this continues, we will not have enough police cars to keep the community safe,” Lombardi is also quoted as saying, “As long as we stay in this crisis mode with the budget being frozen, we’re going to eventually run out of cars.”
Reached for their comment, members of the council called Lombardi’s claims a “publicity stunt” on the part of the Mayor, who seems to be able to find money just fine for new hires in his Public Relations department and his pet project at Sybill’s Cave. We count on our police to protect us every day, and they deserve the very best equipment for the job, but we respectfully suggest people look before they leap into the budget battle.
What about all the SUV’s, Patrolman?
Anyone who walks by Police Headquarters or the Municipal Garage on a regular basis can tell you there seems to be no shortage of police vehicles to cover the Mile Square. Some of these vehicles never seem to move. On March 16 in Hoboken411’s coverage of the massive water main break on Observer Highway it was noted that there were several HPD SUV’s with Office of Emergency Management decals parked in the same place for weeks at a time. The vehicles are still there along with several others that seem to rarely – if ever – see any actual police action.
The nearly new HPD vehicles that sit idle at the Muni Garage include two Ford Explorers, a Jeep Liberty, and a Mercury Mountaineer SUV. There is also a Jeep Cherokee and a GMC SUV that are each a few years old, but fully outfitted for duty they rarely see. Then there are the other HPD vehicle oddities parked on the sidewalk of the Muni Garage, including a vintage 1980’s Chevy Caprice (WHY???) parked behind an old Chevy Suburban.
What’s the deal?
Some of the SUV’s seem to be connected to the hi-dollar OEM division, but apparently aren’t allowed to move from their spots unless the President declares a National Emergency. As for the older vehicles, is that Caprice somebody’s toy? Do we really need to pay to insure this car?
Perhaps it’s time for Public Safety Director Bill Bergin to do an inventory of the HPD fleet (including the SWAT party bus and the new scooters) before the local news rag gets suckered into getting too excited about a few Police Interceptors sidelined for service.