"It was a quick two years and I have mixed emotions about leaving," said Griffin.
His resignation becomes effective on Feb. 28, and there is currently no replacement named to the position.
The position of police director in West New York is the same as police chief.
On Jan. 14, 2005 Griffin stepped in for retiring Police Director Joseph Pelliccio, who served for seven years as West New York's director.
In addition, Griffin served for 25 years at the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office, as captain of the Special Investigations Unit. During his tenure, the unit focused on white-collar crime, the counter terrorism task force, and he oversaw the rapid deployment of all countywide initiatives.
When assigned full-time as West New York's police director, Griffin still retained his captain status at the prosecutor's office and continued to fulfill some of his duties part-time including retaining command of the Rapid Deployment Team.
"I have my 25 years of service [with the prosecutor's office], and I'm eligible to retire at this point or move on to another facet of law enforcement," said Griffin.
Griffin was under contract with West New York to serve as the Police Director for a period of six years when he first arrived in 2005, but due to his eligibility for retirement or reassignment, he can opt out of his contract.
"I felt the time was right," said Griffin, "and I had the decision to make of whether to continue on here or move on to another career."
In late December, Griffin applied for the available chief of police position at Stevens Institute, and after careful consideration took the job when it was offered to him.
"It offers me an opportunity to really work closely with a community made of students and faculty, and it's more of a hands on type of community relations job," said Griffin.
Accomplishments in WNY
Under Griffin's leadership, the West New York Police Department flourished throughout the last two years, and made outstanding advancements in training, cost efficiency, and proactive policing.
"Honestly I came here with one goal and that was to make the West New York Police Department a little better than I found it," said Griffin. "I think I accomplished that."
Some of these advancements have brought the department into the technological age, while at the same time reducing department costs.
"We were able to reduce overtime costs for training by instituting a state of the art training program, where officers receive training through a computer virtual academy," said Griffin.
The virtual academy program allows on-duty officers to attend four-hour mandatory training sessions scheduled at times when they have maximum coverage, whereas in the past officers were brought in on overtime to attend classes of a similar type. The amount of training each officer receives has also been increased.
"We greatly increased the amount of training, while at the same time cutting down the cost of training per officer [through programs like the virtual academy]," said Griffin.
In addition, the police department has increased the number of officers on the street, and updated department equipment such as bikes, patrol vehicles, motorcycles, computers, as well as other important equipment.
"We have also provided our officers with additional tools such as pepper spray and collapsible batons, which provides them with the additional measure of force when dealing with violent criminals," said Griffin. "The department has also updated the equipment for the emergency response teams."
Improving quality of life
Griffin also spearheaded projects like the creation of the Tactical Patrol Force, which addresses quality of life issues throughout the town from drinking in public to burglaries.
"This small unit is responsible for making over 300 arrests during the past year and a half," said Griffin. "The significance of arresting people for quality of life issues is that you are removing someone from the street for a minor offense and perhaps preventing a more serious occurrence."
The West New York Tactical Patrol Force is made up of one sergeant and five officers, which work a shift from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Most recently under Griffin's direction, the town also implemented the Graffiti Task Force, which has been addressing the increasing appearance of graffiti in the town.
"Through investigations and patrol these officers have identified numerous individuals, who are responsible for a large part of the graffiti displayed around town," said Griffin. "Overall the number of closed cases and the number of arrests [in town] are up, as a result of proactive policing."
Now Griffin is moving on and hoping to bring the same rate of success to the Stevens Institute Police Department, but will miss the community he has served for the past two years.
"While I am excited to begin a new career and am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead, I will certainly miss working with the outstanding police officers of West New York," said Griffin. "Most of all I am going to miss the residents of West New York that have welcomed me with open arms from day one."
Mayor Silverio "Sal" Vega is currently looking into a replacement for Griffin. According to Griffin, Vega has indicated that he would like to select someone within the department. Jessica Rosero can be reached at email@example.com.