BAYONNE, NJ - Not a lot of people are aware that the Bayonne Police Department was one of the first in the nation to use police radios. 

This was one of the reasons why Bayonne resident Robert Archibald was concerned when he saw the plaque commemorating the fact missing from Francis G. Fitzpatrick Park.

“The concrete stand is still there, but not the plaque,” he told the city council at a meeting early in January.

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In 1933, around the time Bayonne Bridge opened, the Bayonne Police Department initiated regular two-way communications with its patrol cars, allowing police officers to communicate with headquarters and other on duty vehicles, instead of simply receiving radio bulletins.

Detroit had developed a one-way AM radio broadcast system in 1928, but the Bayonne system soon became the standard for police departments throughout the nation.

Second Ward Councilman Sal Gullace said that the plaque was safe and stored away until the park can be renovated.

“The project is out to bid,” Gullace said.

Anyone who takes a tour of the park Avenue C between West 26th and West 27th will clearly see the need for renovation: splinting benches, planters spilling over with dirt, a dismal tribute to a mayor many consider one of the best in Bayonne history.

“It should have been done years ago,” Mayor Jimmy Davis told TAPinto Bayonne. “But we get a lot of flooding issues in that part of town, and we decided to work with the Department of Environmental Protection to build a cistern under the park while doing the renovation.”

The cost for the project is estimated at about $1.62 million, and if successful, the residents will see a fitting tribute to the historic mayor as well as a significant reduction in sanitary sewer backups.

Some of the park improvements include a new playground that would be ADA compliant, Davis said.

Other changes include the construction of a new water feature, a roller hockey rink, a basketball court, a picnic area with new tables, game tables, a bike rack, and even drinking fountains.

The green wooden building that has long been something of an eyesore will be torn down.

“When it’s done, we’ll have a park people will want to go to, and an area that will see less flooding,” Davis said.

And yes, the plaque honoring the Bayonne police department for being first to use two-way radios in its patrol cars will be returned and remounted in the new park.

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