To our Hasbrouck Heights neighbors,
By now, you may have seen the articles surrounding our Police Department. Let us start by saying we wish none of this was happening and hope for a quick resolution.
First came news of an ongoing investigation into our police chief. The Chief has been a member of our community and the police force for decades. The governing body of our town has an obligation to look into what transpired. We want you to know that the Council will be asking the Bergen County Prosecutor's office for guidance on next steps to take.
During last week's Council meeting, members of our HHPD patrol division brought to our attention a vote of no confidence they had taken against the Chief. A statement was read by their PBA president, from Little Ferry, because the HHPD officers fear retaliation for speaking out. They seek an investigation into their claims of "nepotism, workplace harassment, intimidation and fear."
This past Friday the Mayor put out a statement to the press suggesting we hire an outside consulting firm.
We owe it to the citizens of Hasbrouck Heights to conduct an intensive and unbiased investigation. At this point, we should not be spending thousands of taxpayer dollars to obfuscate our responsibility as your Council. Since Tuesday's Council meeting we have received nothing more than a press release and that alone does not warrant the hiring of a consulting firm. The Hasbrouck Heights Police Committee is the appropriate place to begin this investigation and change must begin with the police committee.
Typically the police committee would consist of two council members appointed to be commissioner and deputy commissioner. However, earlier this year the Mayor appointed himself police commissioner and the council voted to change the law to allow this, a change we voted against. The Mayor should not be police commissioner, and it makes matters worse that his self-appointment comes at the same time his uncle serves as our police chief. At this time the mayor must recuse himself and appoint members of the council to take charge of this investigation. We owe it to the HHPD officers and the residents of this community to have an impartial police committee going forward.
We cannot allow our town’s reputation and the safety of our community to be jeopardized any longer. It is imperative that we move quickly towards a resolution.