PARAMUS – Congressman Josh Gottheimer earned the strong endorsement of Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino Monday. Saudino, an accomplished veteran of law enforcement for more than four decades, offered high praise for Gottheimer’s dedication to law enforcement and first responders, and his strong record of fighting to keep families safe, including in the fight against terror at home and abroad.
Joined by Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco and Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera at the James J. Tedesco Life Safety Complex in Paramus, the Bergen Sheriff highlighted Gottheimer’s efforts to work across the aisle and put the safety and security of the district’s families and communities ahead of political considerations.
“Make no mistake, no one in this race stands with law enforcement and first responders as firmly and as consistently as Josh has in Congress,” said Saudino. “Josh has truly been a partner, someone we can always count on in the law enforcement community to have our backs. In all he does, Josh works across the aisle to get things done for us. And as a member of the Bipartisan Law Enforcement Caucus, he’s not afraid to cross party lines, like with the Thin Blue Line Act, to do what’s right and protect our officers who put their lives on the line for our communities.”
“He doesn’t just pay lip service to standing up for the men and women who protect and serve our communities – because he understands how hard the jobs of police and firefighters are and the sacrifices they make for our families every day,” Saudino continued.
Gottheimer said that he is focused on looking after first responders because he appreciates their tireless service to our communities.
“When I got to Congress, I did what I said I’d do then – I’d get the backs of law enforcement and of all first responders, and I’d fight for the taxpayers of northern New Jersey,” said Gottheimer. I joined the bipartisan Law Enforcement Caucus, I fought for Thin Blue Line legislation, and I came here to Paramus to announce five new police officers here in Paramus, supported through the COPS program. Not only will the grant help Paramus fight crime and terror – but they are filling all positions with post 9/11 veterans.”
“There is no greater responsibility then being a first responder – they are heroes who run towards danger when everyone else is running away – they are the men and women who selflessly put our health and safety above their own,” Gottheimer said.
Gottheimer, one of only two Democrats in the House to have earned a perfect 100% rating from the National Association of Police Organizations, added that he was grateful to have earned Saudino’s support, offering his admiration for the Sheriff’s many years of service to his community and commitment to keeping families safe.
“Sheriff, it is truly an honor to have earned your support,” said Gottheimer. “I know you take great pride in being a cop and not a politician. In fact, on more than one occasion, you have reminded me that you will never put party politics above the men and women who serve and protect our communities – and I’ll always admire you for that. As your Congressman, I am proud to stand with you to reinforce that same commitment. As with all of our first responders, please know how much we appreciate and will be forever grateful for your dedication, your bravery and your service to our communities. Thank you for your kind words and for your support today.”
Saudino also made it clear that Gottheimer’s tough stance on terrorism was helping to keep the community safe and secure.
“No one has been stronger, tougher and forward-thinking on terrorism than Josh,” Saudino said. “He’s introduced bipartisan bills to make sure those of us in law enforcement have the leading-edge tools, latest training and access to information we need to combat terrorism, especially ISIS-inspired lone-wolf attacks and other new, emerging threats.”
Gottheimer discussed how’s he’s working to give first responders the resources they need to combat terror, including ISIS-inspired Lone-Wolf terrorists. The Congressman said that at his Synagogue Security Summit last week, experts from the FBI and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security identified al Qaeda and ISIS-inspired lone wolf terror as the issue they are most concerned about.
“To prevent future tragedies, we need to make sure law enforcement – the first responders who are on the front lines – have the tools and the information to combat these growing threats,” Gottheimer said. “That’s why I introduced the Darren Drake Combatting 21st Century Weapons of Terror Act, to require background checks on those who rent trucks, and the Freezing Assets of Domestic Terrorists and Enemy Recruits Act – known as the FASTER Act – which will seize the funds of homegrown terrorists.”
Saudino emphasized that Gottheimer has made it a priority to work with towns and police and fire departments to bring back grants and other federal resources for new equipment, training and other critical public safety needs. He noted that prior to Gottheimer taking office, the district lacked that proactive leadership.
“He’s fighting to help bring back resources so cops and firefighters can stay safe on the job and so we have the tools we need to keep our communities safe,” Saudino said. “Before Josh we didn’t have that partner. There was someone who didn’t believe in grants to put more cops on the beat or providing the tools we need to fight terror. Quite frankly, it made things very difficult for us. And let’s not forget this person voted against healthcare for the first responders who rushed to help on September 11, 2001.”
With Gottheimer’s help, Paramus received a $1.875 million grant last year to hire and train five new police officers, as part of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program. The borough intends to fill all five positions with post 9/11 veterans.
Gottheimer also said that by working with mayors and local leaders from both parties, his office has helped seventeen new towns throughout the district sign up for the Law Enforcement Support Office Program (LESO) to claw back federal dollars and equipment and provide property tax relief to their families.
Gottheimer named several communities where he’s helped police and fire departments acquire grants and new equipment. Last week, Gottheimer joined Chief William Wicker in Oradell to announce that the town received equipment valued at more than $246,000 through this program.
The Wantage Fire Department received $102,000, their first Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) in thirteen years.
Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 in West Milford received $160,000 for protective gear.
Saudino also noted that Gottheimer helped bring $13 million back to New Jersey to fight the opioid epidemic in the state.
“I’m committed to working hard every day to get a better return on investment for our taxpayers to fight crime and terror – and help cut our property taxes – and I will always stand up for those who protect our communities,” Gottheimer said.
PHOTOS: Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) endorsed by Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino