As Mayor, and more importantly, as a father raising a family, I am very troubled with some of the recent crime in our community. West Orange, like any community, is not immune to crime, and has never been, but some recent criminal activity has increased in severity and that concerns all of us. Though this speaks more to the callousness of people and a sad element of our society, we would prefer it not visit upon our families in West Orange. We are grateful to the men and women of our Police Department for closing these high profile crimes with arrests and thankful for the cooperation we receive from other law enforcement agencies.
Overall crime statistics are down town-wide and we should all be pleased with that. However, even one crime against our residents is too many and we will continue to work hard to see that every violator is brought to justice, and more importantly, that we do all we can to prevent crime. It is not possible for us to guarantee future crime never occurs and no number of police officers can bring us closer to that goal, but we will do all we can with all the resources at our disposal to get as close as possible and to provide all our residents with a proper level of comfort. Nothing, for any of our families, is more important than feeling comfortable in our homes and safe in our neighborhoods.
As part of our continued efforts in working toward that goal, I have outlined below ongoing initiatives to protect our residents and property:
· We are pleased to be working cooperatively with the new Mayor of Orange, Mayor Dwayne D. Warren, on policing efforts along our borders. We will be announcing shortly a joint effort of combined resources working in these densely populated neighborhoods.
· We are in the process of reallocating additional resources to our Community Services Unit. The CSU has been extremely successful over the years and is still one of the best tools we maintain for working with residents and resident groups to insure a strong level of communication between the community and our policing efforts.
· We have recently added state-of-the-art equipment to all of our police patrol cars. In addition to providing the officers with immediate access to driver information, this equipment provides the officers with greater efficiency in addressing traffic matters, which eliminates paperwork time and keeps the officers on patrol duty.
· The new technology includes two automatic license plate readers, which detects cars that may have been flagged for theft or otherwise wanted in connection with crimes, and provides an additional set of eyes for officers on patrol.
· The Administration has been working to develop a system of cameras in various neighborhoods tied directly to Police Headquarters and will be present this initiative to the Township Council in the coming months.
· We will continue to work towards removing police officers from administrative roles and to return them to more routine police work. Administrative roles will be filled with civilian personnel in order that we maximize our trained law enforcement capabilities.
· We will continue our ongoing community outreach in September with regular meetings with various neighborhood groups and concerned residents. We have regularly met with residents in small and large groups and will continue to discuss concerns with residents in all corners of the community. If residents, in local meeting places or in living rooms, would like to host a meeting with our Police leadership and the Administration, please contact the Mayor’s Office at 973-325-4100.
Challenges in government may take many forms and we will continue to give full attention to each of them but the safety of our residents will always rank the highest. Government alone cannot achieve that important goal; it takes all of us, working together, as community groups, as government, as law enforcement, as neighbors, as neighborhoods, as friends and as collective members of our West Orange family…to insure that our home, West Orange, be the community we all want it to be.
Mayor Robert D. Parisi