February 6, 2014 at 9:00 AM
WESTFIELD, NJ — At the regular Town Council meeting Tuesday night as well as at the council conference earlier that evening, Westfield Police Chief David Wayman spoke about recent use of the town’s mobile command center and the town’s police officers during pre-Super Bowl festivities in Hoboken.
Westfield was asked by Hoboken to bring its highly advanced technology to help with security and counter-terrorism efforts, he said.
By taking part in events like this outside of Westfield, the chief explained, he and his administrators have the opportunity to take part in the implementation of tactical planning and its observe its effectiveness. Working in the field also ensures that equipment remains operable and helps him train officers in how to use it, resulting in more highly trained and experienced officers, he said.
Westfield officers worked at the event with Homeland Security, the FBI, NJ Transit and other entities. Wayman called it “the opportunity of a lifetime.”
At the Town Council meeting, resident and blogger Greg Kasko said that he had seen the town’s mobile command center in Philadelphia, Weehawken and Hoboken for “non-emergencies” and questioned why it was being used in other towns and who was paying for that.
“None of the events with this equipment have incurred any overtime,” Town Administrator Jim Gildea had said at the earlier council conference meeting. He said that some officers changed their schedules in order to participate, and others volunteered their time. He also said that Hoboken helped cover costs for this recent event, such as fuel to travel to and from Hoboken.
Also at the council conference meeting, Mayor Andy Skibitsky told the council about the Rescue Squad dinner that he had attended Saturday night. New officers were sworn in, and others were recognized for their work.
“It was a very nice event,” said Skibitsky.