RARITAN, NJ - As the Borough of Raritan continues to grow, improve and change, Police Chief Raymond Nolte is moving his department ahead in lock step.
Embracing the same type of innovations that are changing the world, the chief is keeping his 21-man department contemporary, connected and cutting edge.
“We’re using technology to make what we do more efficient,” he said.
Raritan is a town brimming with new construction and a full schedule of events, such as the parades and street fairs that require the presence of off-duty police officers to stand guard or direct traffic. Coordinating the schedule, invoicing the contractor and inputting the payroll data is a daunting job.
Currently, the department’s administrative assistant does the billing, and the scheduling – calling around to find an available officer – falls to the sergeant on duty.
On a recent council meeting agenda was a discussion about outsourcing the work. The police chief and the Raritan Borough Council are considering joining neighboring towns and numerous other cities across the country by hiring Extra Duty Solutions to manage that task.
The Trumbull, CT, based outfit opened its doors in 2015, and offers work-force level management and scheduling programs. Borough Administrator Dan Jaxel described its services to the council as “a private management company for extraneous jobs.”
Using EDS would allow a contractor to schedule police presence using an app. The company would then bill the contractor, take its share of the cost and deposit the borough’s share directly into its bank account.
One of the most attractive reasons for using EDS for scheduling and management of third-party jobs is that the police department does not pay any fees for the service. The cost of operating the program transfers from the police department, and of course the underlying taxpayer base, to the contractors using the program.
However, the concern voiced by Jaxel is that since the cost of off-duty police management would fall to a contractor, they don’t know if that would increase the bid price.
“I’m especially concerned about the costs going up on capital projects,” he said.
If a company bids on a job, for example, to put speed humps in on a street, he said, they don’t know if it would take into account the charge that would be incurred by EDS and raise the price of the job. If so, the taxpayers are still footing the bill.
“I spoke with the chief, and he had an extensive discussion with the Bridgewater police,” said Councilman Paul Giraldi, a former police officer. “They use this company. I think it’s something we should seriously look at.”
“Bridgewater had only good things to say about EDS,” he said, “but I’m still exploring all of our options.”
In the end, the discussion about EDS was tabled until a clear direction was decided upon by the chief.
Also at the council meeting, members discussed the implementation of G-Suite, a Google government cloud-based productivity program that will be utilized to free up server space and work more efficiently. The changeover involves a one-time migration cost of approximately $3,450.
“We won’t have to purchase and continually update our software with this program,” the chief said.
It will provide custom email addresses and administrative controls over user access, service policies and mobile devices. Nolte said council president Nicolas Carra has been a great asset in researching and vetting out better technology.
In addition, for the first time, the Raritan Borough Police Department is working toward accreditation under Title 40. One step in the process is to amend the township ordinance consistent with state language as to the powers and duties of the chief of police.
That process began at the last council meeting when Ordinance 2020-01 was introduced and unanimously passed.
The Chief said accreditation is based on an international standard for law enforcement that limits liability and risk exposure.
“It’s a comprehensive and contemporary set of uniform directives,” Nolte said, “including best practices and a proven management model that increases operational efficiency, improves delivery of services and lowers cost.”