The ongoing battle against crime in West New York has led to improvements in the Police Department including a bolstered vehicle fleet and the imminent revival of the Tactical Patrol Force.
The department had such a force in the past, but “issues needed to be addressed,” said Police Captain Mike Indri last week. “Sgt. Frank Steffe will be running the unit [of] select officers.” The unit will focus on quality-of-life issues, narcotics, and gang activity.
The department will get help from the Hudson County gang unit led by Sheriff Frank Schillari.
“A good police department is a deterrent to crime.” – Mayor Felix Roque
The town is also working on creating a police substation on the waterfront to tackle petty crime in that area.
“The substation will be a mobile unit until we get approved for a grant from homeland security to build a station,” said Mayor Felix Roque. “[We are also] working on getting better Homeland Security equipment. A good Police Department is a deterrent to crime.”
Commissioners donate cars
After the newly-elected Board of Commissioners took office last month, Mayor Felix Roque decided to donate three town-owned vehicles once used by commissioners to the Police Department. Roque had seen it as an unnecessary expense for town commissioners to use town-owned vehicles.
“I am a local physician, so people always complain about [criminal] activity, so I have the pulse of the community,” the mayor said. “There wasn’t a need to have commissioners with vehicles in [this] town.”
Now the cars will bolster the police force.
“The vehicles need to be equipped with police equipment,” said Captain Indri. Two of the vehicles acquired are SUVs, so they can be used during inclement weather.
Other police news
“I visited school No. 5 and was impressed with what a phenomenal job the DARE [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] program was doing in the schools,” said Mayor Roque. “Sgt. Moreno and Velasquez [run the program].”
DARE brings local police to schools to discuss with the students the consequences of drug abuse, gang violence, and other topics of importance to the young community.
Meanwhile, the city has acquired a new Emergency Medical Station on 66th street, which is still under renovation to accommodate living quarters and parking for two ambulance vehicles.
According to Mayor Roque, at the last town commissioners’ meeting, the Emergency Medical Squad was given $28,000 from the town budget to keep all the trucks equipped with needed supplies.
Santo Sanabria may be reached at SSanabria@hudsonreporter.com.