Community Life

Cook's Pond Safer with New Badge System

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DENVILLE, NJ-- A new identification system that went into place at Cook’s Pond this summer has been met with positive reviews. Additionally, management at the pond is already looking towards improving the process for next year to make it more efficient.

Since Cook’s Pond has been open, it’s been known as a place for people of all ages to relax on the sandy beach and swim in a clean and safe environment. According to Lake Manager Mike Landshof, it’s no coincidence that the pond has gained such a good reputation in the community.

“It’s a great place to be in the summer,” Landshof said. “It’s clean, safety is the number one priority, the lifeguards are well trained, and we listen to the suggestions and concerns of the members. We all take a lot of pride in everything we do at the pond.”

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Landshof believes those are the reasons that families come back year after year. It’s not just families with young kids that go to Cook’s Pond but residents from children to senior citizens enjoy the amenities that are offered.

“We always have the families with kids come here but we also have senior citizens and we started to notice that families that brought their kids ten years ago, or more, are now signing up as “empty-nester” couples because their kids are in college,” Landshof said.

Even though residents have been enjoying Cook’s Pond for decades, pond staff and recreation department members noticed the need for improvement in efficiency and safety. A new system went into place this summer that included a photo identification badge so that everyone’s picture is in the computer system. If a child were to go missing while at the pond, staff can bring up the child’s picture to more easily aid in the location process.

Not only will it improve safety concerns, members at the pond became aware that people might have been “scamming the system” by giving friends and families that weren’t members their badges so they could use the facilities. A photo ID will eliminate the possibility of a non-member gaining access without the right credentials.

As of now, people are still able to sign up by going to Cook’s Pond to fill out all the necessary identification and payment information. A temporary badge is given for the day and then the new member can pick up their badge at town hall the next day. According to Landshof, that’s been the one complaint that people have about the photo ID badges.

“There’s definitely a learning curve because this is the first year we have this new system but we’re already looking at ways to improve it for next year,” Landshof said.

One way to more efficiency is that the badges will be transferable from year to year. Current members won’t have to go through the process of getting a new picture and badge every year. Instead, the badge can be re-activated the following summer once membership is renewed.

Another way to improve efficiency is to have the machine used to make the IDs at Cook’s Pond instead of town hall. The process can be slowed down if prospective members can’t get to town hall during normal business hours to pick up the newly print badges. Having the badge machine at the pond will allow badges to be printed almost immediately.

Finally, staff is looking into a scanning system that will get people into Cook’s Pond even faster. This system would allow members to hold up their badge upon entry to the pond and a machine would scan the cards. This would eliminate the need to hand the badges to the gatekeepers for inspection, getting people onto the beach and into the water sooner.

For more information on Cook’s Pond and the new badge system, visit the recreation department website or head over to Cook’s Pond to talk to the staff.

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