Island Heights, NJ—January 23, 2017— Critical Response Group Inc. (CRG) and the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) are proud to announce a new strategic partnership aimed at revolutionizing first responder planning and responses during emergency situations.
Leveraging the hard-fought lessons learned by our military’s most elite Special Operation forces during the global war on terror, Critical Response Group Inc. transforms written emergency operations plans into highly-usable, GeoRelevant™ (SMART) visual plans known as Collaborative Response Graphics™. These plans are then made available to first responders through a secure, web based application on their smart phones/devices or computers. That application allows first responders to visualize their location on the actual plan, and incident commanders to better coordinate the scene because assets can be tracked in real time.
A plan is only as good as its ability to be accessed, understood and implemented by personnel who are on scene during an incident. All too often, when an emergency strikes a school, place of worship or privately owned building, well thought out plans go unused or underutilized simply because critical information is often buried in a written document which is not accessible to the first responders.
Critical Response Group Inc. (CRG) is solving this long-standing challenge by creating easily understood, geospatially accurate Collaborative Response Graphics™. At their core, they are one page visual emergency response SMARTplans. While for years schools and most commercial entities have been required by law to have emergency action plans, until now those plans often sat in seldom-viewed three-ring binders instead of in the hands of first responders and safety professionals responding to an emergency at that location.
Because geospatial metadata is imbedded in every pixel of a Collaborative Response Graphic™, first responders using any hand held smart device to view the plan will instantly visualize themselves on that plan. That allows for a common frame of reference and true situational awareness between all first responders, regardless of the agency or emergency discipline that they represent.
“Everyone talks about the need and desire to be on the same page, what we are doing with the NJSACOP is creating that page,” said Phil Coyne, CEO of Critical Response Group, Inc.
Working in partnership with the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, Critical Response Group Inc. has embarked upon a project to assist police departments, school districts and emergency planners in developing a unique, truly interoperable and accessible means with which to plan and respond to critical events.
Critical Response Group’s Collaborative Response Graphics are already in use in select school districts, commercial buildings, and transportation hubs throughout the United States. They have proven to be effective planning and response tools at events ranging from crime scenes to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Formed in 2016 and formerly the Geospatial Intelligence Division of The Rodgers Group, LLC, Critical Response Group is a team of dedicated, experienced and proven professionals from the U.S. Military Special Operations and domestic public safety communities. Members of our team have served as Police Chiefs, SWAT team commanders, Fire Chiefs, Emergency Management Coordinators, Fusion Center Directors and former members U.S. Military Special Operations Command who have served on numerous tours in combat. They have a proven record of success operating in environments ranging from the war on terror overseas to man-made and natural disasters here at home.
To learn more about the project, please see the link below to an article written by Chief Michael Bruno (Ret.) of the Tenafly Police Department which explains this technique which has been used for more than ten years to plan and coordinate operations by our Nation’s most elite military forces. http://www.crgplans.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/CRGWhitePaper.pdf
To register for one of the projects regional training seminars scheduled to begin in March, please check back with the Professional Development Division of the NJSACOP in February at the link below.
Relevant Links: Critical Response Group Website
New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police website
Posted By: Mary-Louise Hoffman on: August 11, 2016 In: Industry News, News
New Jersey-based public safety consulting firm Rodgers Group has launched a business group in response to a growing demand for visual-based emergency management plans.
The company said Tuesday its Critical Response Group aims to help clients transform text-based emergency action plans into collaborative response graphics with BAE Systems‘ Geospatial eXploitation platform.
Rodgers Group President Frank Rodgers said he believes CRGs can help “bridge the gap between having a written plan and actually being able to use and operate on that plan during a critical incident.”
Critical Response Group will also use BAE’s GXP Xplorer server to help first responders and emergency management professionals track and locate colleagues in real time through a common geospatial reference.
The organization employs former officials of the U.S. Military Special Operations Command, SWAT commanders and high-level state law enforcement agency executives, according to Rodgers Group.
ISLAND HEIGHTS, N.J., Aug. 9, 2016
The Rodgers Group, LLC, New Jersey's premier public safety consulting company, is proud to announce the launch of Critical Response Group.
Formerly a division of The Rodgers Group, LLC, Critical Response Group was launched to meet the exploding demand for visual-based emergency action plans-- a cutting edge approach to emergency planning and preparedness that is revolutionizing how businesses and public safety professionals plan, react, and respond to critical incidents.
Using BAE Systems' groundbreaking GXP geospatial eXploitation products, Critical Response Group transforms text-based emergency action plans into geospatially relevant SMART images known as Collaborative Response Graphics (CRGs). These highly-functional visual planning and response tools plot the user on a SMART image in real time whenever the image is opened on any GPS enabled smartphone or smart device.
"The reality is that the vital information contained in text-based plans is incredibly difficult to find, communicate, and leverage in the dynamic and chaotic environment that envelops a critical incident," said Frank Rodgers, former Deputy Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police and President of The Rodgers Group, LLC.
With a Collaborative Response Graphic, the critical information contained in an entire emergency plan binder can be reduced to a single, easy to understand, geospatially relevant SMART graphic. Personnel can plan, collaborate, and respond with a universal understanding of the emergency plan, operational area, and available resources and options. With the addition of a BAE Systems GXP Xplorer server, first responders, emergency management professionals, and others integral to a successful and effective response can locate and track each other in real time while having a common geospatial reference. Critical information can be documented, captured, and instantly disseminated to personnel actively engaged in responding and reacting.
"Collaborative Response Graphics are the missing link that will finally bridge the gap between having a written plan and actually being able to use and operate on that plan during a critical incident," said Rodgers.
Critical Response Group boasts a client portfolio that includes respected companies and agencies from the public education, transportation, public safety, insurance, and energy sectors.
Members of the Critical Response Group team have served as officers in the US Military Special Operations Command, SWAT team commanders, police chiefs, fire chiefs, emergency management coordinators, and high-level executives at the most respected state law enforcement agencies in the country. Team members have a record of success operating in environments ranging from the war on terror overseas to manmade and natural disasters here at home.
Critical Response Group Website
SOCET GXP Crisis Management Video
The GXP Tactical Solution Video
The Rodgers Group, LLC
For Further Information, Contact:
By ERIC HOSTETTLER Staff Writer Mar 9, 2016
WATCHUNG – The Borough Council heard a presentation on Wednesday, March 2 about a comprehensive report on the status of the borough’s volunteer fire department.
Mayor Stephen Pote said the council, along with about a dozen firefighters and Fire Chief Jonathan Erber, met at a special meeting with representatives of the Rodgers Group LLC of Toms River.
“The Rodgers Group has provided a great foundation of analysis and corresponding recommendations upon which our fire department, working with the mayor and Council, can take substantive action,” said Pote. “They gave us a good look into the condition of our vehicles and equipment, as compared to industry standards and recommendations. They also provided a detailed look into the operations of our fire department, again basing their analysis upon what is standard and best practice.”
Pote said the report was full of many helpful insights that could help the department.
“They gave some good recommendations on how to boost morale and retain our volunteer membership; where and how to seek grants and external funding that is available,” he said. “In all, the Rodgers Group gave us a holistic view into the fire department, both present and future.”
The report suggested many “immediately actionable” items to focus on in the short term (0 to 6 months), medium term (6 to 18 months) and long term (greater than 18 months) based on cost and priority, according to Pote.
Some recommendations the mayor thought were most helpful included bettering the recruitment, training and retaining of fire professionals; tightening department operations, and specifically focusing on vehicle and equipment replacement.
“I wish there were more people from the general public at our mayor and council meetings, this included,” said Pote. “I believe in transparency of government; part of that is educating the public as we ourselves get educated. This is why I have been very consistent in wanting our professionals to appear before us. The reports and plans they produce are great, but having an opportunity to discuss, ask questions, reflect, and solicit public opinion is just as important.”
Pote was grateful to have the fire department well represented. He appreciated the firefighters attending to “provide some additional insights real-time.”
“They know the business and I think understanding their perspective on the issues is critical,” he said. “Chief Erber represented his firemen, in speaking on their behalf, about several issues of policy and practice.”
The Council’s Fire Committee and fire department volunteers will prioritize the recommendations “based on risk and need, desire, money available, (and) availability of resources,” the mayor added.
“I would ask that within the next four to six weeks, this list (be) identified and reviewed with the Council Fire Committee,” he said. “As part of this analysis, I would like this subcommittee to discuss how these priorities will be funded by the mayor and Council, as well by the several hundred thousand dollars collected by the firemen over time.”
The list of recommendations will then be submitted to the mayor and Council for review and approval.
Pote believes this report was a great use of taxpayer dollars.
“Now, like anything else, we need to fit these recommendations into the context of everything else going on,” he said. “I am confident that many important actions can be pursued. The Watchung Volunteer Fire Department and its membership is too important.”
After an intensive, year-plus overhaul of policies, procedures, operations, software, and much more, the Secaucus Police Department has received accreditation by an independent reviewing agency, joining an exclusive group of departments in New Jersey and across the country.
State Accreditation Program Manager Harry J. Delgado from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP), the agency that administers the accreditation process, visited Secaucus on Nov. 10 to present the department with a certificate of accreditation.
“What is really remarkable about the Secaucus Police Department,” Delgado told the police, residents, and council members in attendance, “is that when we come to a police department at the end of the rigorous two-year self-assessment phase, we test them to show proof that they meet the standards. There’s usually something that we find. and trust me, we try. In the case of the Secaucus Police Department, there wasn’t a paper out of place. They had a perfect final on-site assessment. That is incredible. It seldom if ever happens. and for that I think you need to be certainly recognized.”
In order to be accredited a police department must adhere to more than 105 standards developed by the NJSACOP. Of the more than 500 police departments eligible for accreditation in New Jersey, only 144 have achieved that designation. Secaucus is the second in Hudson County, after Harrison.
“We’re very pleased as a council about the hard work beginning with Chief [Dennis] Corcoran through Acting Chief [John] Cerny to Chief [Kevin] Flaherty,” said Councilman Gary Jeffas, the police liaison, “by all of the officers from top to bottom and the administrative staff to make this happen.”
Increased efficiency and cost savings
Accredition offers numerous benefits to the department. Chief among them is consistency in procedures and reporting. All policies have been brought into compliance with state and federal standards.
“The accreditation process was quite an undertaking,” Police Chief Kevin Flaherty said. “All our policies were reviewed and updated. All our general orders and procedures used to be in giant book. Now they’re on computers. They can look up from their car or smart phones.”
Every aspect of police work was included, from search and seizure and handcuffing to internal administrative policy.
Physical changes were also required. “One of the biggest was our evidence room,” said Flaherty. “It had not been inventoried or cleaned out for over 35 years. It’s all cleaned out now. All evidence no longer needed was either destroyed or given back to its rightful owner.”
The changes not only improve efficiency, they impact the bottom line. According to Delgado, accredited agencies have 11 percent fewer police professional liability claims, 18 percent fewer worker compensation claims, and 31 percent fewer auto liability claims. As a result, insurance companies allow a discount on insurance premiums to accredited departments.
For Flaherty, who was named officer in charge of the department in Dec. 2014 and officially sworn in as chief on April 28, the accreditation process paralleled his taking command of the Secaucus Police Department. “It was perfect for my situation, “ he said. “Gave me a blueprint on how to proceed, what policies and procedures to do. It actually made my transition much easier.”
Lt. Dennis Miller was the accreditation manager for Secaucus, overseeing the process for the department. “He did an excellent job,” said Flaherty.
Constantly evolving standards
The NJSACOP is a 102-year-old organization that offers programs in staffing, promotions, training, professional development, leadership development, and more, on a state, national, and international level.
Accreditation is good for three years. The department must submit regular updates to the NJSACOP throughout that time, and then undergo the full two-day review for reaccreditation.
Meanwhile, standards are constantly evolving. “In May of 2015 we added five new ones,” said Delgado. “They evolve based on contemporary issues that might be challenging at any one particular time.”
For example, body-worn cameras have been a hot topic recently. Police are under a lot of scrutiny nowadays, with numerous high-profile incidents in the news.
“All the more reasons for agencies to seek accreditation,” said Delgado. “They want to protect themselves. Accreditation offers an extra layer of protection.”
Art Schwartz may be reached at email@example.com.
AUGUST 20, 2015
BY MARC LIGHTDALE
STAFF WRITER | NORTHERN VALLEY SUBURBANITE
HARRINGTON PARK — The council is considering paying for the Police Department to go through an accreditation process to mitigate liability concerns and help to reduce insurance costs.
"It would help the [Police Department] achieve its goal of being a more consistently professional operation," said Councilman Gregory Evanella, the police commissioner.
While there is nothing that took place that would lead to concerns, Police Chief Albert Maalouf sees it as a positive move.
"It is more of an avenue to professionalize the Police Department," Maalouf said, adding that it will make "the department more efficient."
The council, which discussed the matter at the Aug. 10 meeting, has not taken action yet.
"I believe they're in favor of it, it's a matter of the costs involved and whether the borough has enough funds," Maalouf said.
The initial cost for the project is approximately $39,000. The borough hopes to cover approximately half of that cost with a grant from the Bergen County Joint Insurance Fund.
Currently, there are 140 accredited police departments in the state, 23 in Bergen County, which includes the County Sheriff's and the Prosecutor's Office, according to Harry J. Delgado, the accreditation program manager of the New Jersey State Association of the Chiefs of Police.
"It reduces their risk," said Frank Rodgers of the Rodgers Group, a company that assists municipalities in the accreditation process. "They're proactively and voluntarily demonstrating that they're following the best practices."
Other departments in the area that have undergone accreditation include Cresskill, Closter and Westwood. Tenafly is close to finishing the process, officials said.
"For the police, it will enhance police services," Maalouf said, adding the process addresses everything from the transportation of prisoners to the handling of evidence.
Council member Jorden Pedersen said he was in favor of the accreditation process and called it a good idea.
"It provides standards by which a police department can operate at the highest and most professional level in accordance with the standards set by the accrediting agency," Pedersen said.
Maalouf said while he doesn't have any concerns about the accrediting process, he has some trepidation about the amount of manpower it will require. He said he will likely have to assign one or two officers, however, he adds this will not impact patrol or the ability to respond to calls.
"It will impact the amount of work one officer has to do," Maalouf said.
The officer would be splitting responsibilities between his regular duties and those required by the accreditation process, he said.
The council is also considering the use of the powerDMS system to improve the management of paperwork. PowerDMS is a software company that specializes in document and accreditation management. It enables for the rules and regulations to be created on software that allows an officer to sign off that they've read a policy to leave no outside chance that somebody missed a memo or did not know the rules of the department, officials said.
"Part of it is that the trend is go towards more computerization, everything is electronically signed off on, " Maalouf said. "It does put the onus on the police officer. He can't allege that he didn't receive the appropriate training or the directive that was in effect."
Going through the accreditation process includes codifying all the rules and regulations and insuring their compliance. Accreditation will help the borough reduce its insurance premiums through the county joint-insurance fund, offering reduced premiums of approximately $1,800 less, according to Maalouf.
"With regards to concerns about lawsuits and liability, it mitigates liability and makes it less likely to have lawsuits," Maalouf said.
Evanella said he expects a votes on both items in September.
updated July 13, 2015 at 5:43 PM
PRINCETON — The year-long study of the Princeton Police Department to develop a strategic plan to improve safety will be presented Monday night to council.
Some of the issues outlined by the Rodgers Group study are traffic, crime, and community policing.
"It really, for me, is a sharpening of the focus of the department," Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter said in a pre-council meeting Monday afternoon. "This is the community telling us what they need and us addressing it."
He said the Rodgers Group, made up of public safety experts, reached out to other community members to formulate the strategic plan.
"Traditionally, police departments sit back and determine what the problems are and how they should be addressed. That's not the most effective plan, to me," Sutter said.
The document presents a three-year plan and will be available as public information.
"We're going to be aggressive with it," Sutter said. "The most important part is that it is obtainable."
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The Rodgers Group Launches New Geospatial Intelligence Division
The Rodgers Group is proud to announce that we have expanded our operations by creating a new Geospatial Intelligence Division. Working in exclusive partnership with BAE Systems, the new Division’s efforts focus on the creation and management of geospatial intelligence products used to plan for, manage and report on critical incidents.
The new Division is led by U.S. Army Special Operations Command Veterans Michael Rodgers, John (J.D.) Dolan and Ethan Killeen. The new Division’s staff also includes several recognized public safety experts including Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski (Ret.), former Maryland Emergency Management Director Kenneth Mallette and Lt. Keith Germain of the Barnegat Township Police Department.
To review the detailed biographies of these personnel please click on the link below.
To view a brief video which provides a concise explanation of the nature of the new Rodgers Group Division’s focus, please click on the link below.
For more information on BAE Systems GXP Tactical Solution please click on the links below.
To join our Group on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Rodgers-Group-4502527/about
For additional information visit our website: http://www.rodgersgroupllc.com
Watchung Borough Council stays purchase of water rescue boat
By BRIAN WOODS Staff Writer | Posted: Friday, April 10, 2015 3:00 am
WATCHUNG — The Watchung Volunteer Fire Department will have to wait a bit longer to receive a water rescue boat.
A resolution to purchase the boat, intended for emergency use on on Watchung and Best lakes, was tabled at a Borough Council meeting on Thursday, April 2. Instead of agreeing to move forward with the purchase, the council decided to enlist in the services of The Rodgers Group to get a better understanding of what in the way of water rescue equipment is needed in the borough.
The initial resolution consisted of two parts. One part was to purchase a water rescue boat for $11,045, said Councilwoman Dianna Beck-Clemens. The second part was for The Rodgers Group to provide professional assessment to the fire department on other issues. The council moved ahead with the second part, but will go to The Rodgers Group for advice on the rescue boat. The council expects the group’s report in two months.
The Rodgers Group is a strategic network of independent, credentialed, and experienced public safety experts that aim to enhance public safety in municipalities. Frank Rodgers, who is a retired deputy superintendent of the New Jersey State Police after spending 25 years with them, heads the group.
Beck-Clemens was the first to suggest bringing in The Rodgers Group to help with water rescue equipment.
“We’re investing a lot of capital with The Rodgers Group. They are doing two studies with us for about $15,000, and I think that they would be well poised to do this. My suggestion would be for them to analyze what kind of water rescue equipment we need,” she said.
Beck-Clemens added that The Rodgers Group might suggest buying more than the one boat.
Council President Bill Nehls agreed, saying that he had no problem with The Rodgers Group taking a look at the water rescue situation. “We have experts coming in. Let’s use their expertise and get the best equipment we can for the town,” said Nehls.
Not all council members agreed with delaying the process of buying a rescue boat and adding another step to it. Councilman Robert Gibbs said he felt that the fire committee vetted the topic thoroughly and was confident moving forward on their recommendation on the approximately $11,000 boat.
Councilman Thomas Franklin agreed with Gibbs and believed that the fire department knew the town’s circumstances and personnel and could make an appropriate decision. “The fire committee recommended going ahead with this. Our own fire department knows what they need,” said Franklin.
There was some talk that the boat could also be used in instances of flooding on Route 22, but decided that the equipment would best serve Watchung’s two lakes under control of the fire department.
The council opted to discuss the possible purchase of inflatable rescue equipment for flooding on Route 22 with the police department at a later date.
Jonathan Lin | The Jersey Journal By Jonathan Lin | The Jersey Journal
on February 10, 2015 at 4:05 PM, updated February 11, 2015 at 5:22 PM
BAYONNE -- The Bayonne Police Department is seeking to update its policies and procedures to obtain accreditation through a state police organization.
In a speech at a police promotion ceremony on Friday, Police Chief Drew Niekrasz mentioned "changes" that the police department is looking to make, and said that the newly promoted officers will help achieve those changes.
"I know from over the years of working with each and every one of you, that we have the right group, the right selection of people," he said, addressing the 10 officers being promoted.
Asked later what he meant by "changes," Niekrasz said the police department initiated an accreditation process in January this year to ensure the department is using "best practices." The accreditation is not mandatory.
"It's a fairly large program. It's going to take us anywhere between a year and a year and a half to accomplish," he said. "It basically requires a lot of changes to the way we do our operations to bring them in line with best practices."
Niekrasz added that the accreditation, which is administered by the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police, is "something that's now starting to be done throughout the state."
According to association's website, accreditation is a "time-proven method of assisting law enforcement agencies to calculate and improve their overall performance."
The department has hired The Rodgers Group, an outside consulting firm, to analyze its operations. Other municipalities, such as Princeton and Freehold Borough, have hired the firm to do similar analyses of their police departments.
Retired New Jersey State Police Lt. Col. Frank Rodgers, the president of The Rodgers Group, told The Jersey Journal that accredited law enforcement agencies are sued one-third less on average than non-accredited agencies.
Accreditation also results in an approximately 5 to 8 percent reduction in insurance premiums for agencies belonging to insurance pools in the state, he said.
"The Bayonne Police Department voluntarily decided to do this to demonstrate their level of professionalism," he said. "It takes them time to get it together, and that's what we're here to help them do."
City spokesman Joe Ryan referred all accreditation-related inquiries to Niekrasz's office, which didn't immediately respond when asked how much The Rodgers Group is being paid for its review.
Rodgers said that figure was about $60,000, and that it would be paid on a monthly basis over a period of a year.
When asked if his firm was brought into the picture in light of the recent lawsuits filed against the Bayonne Police Department, Rodgers said he didn't think it had anything to do with that.
"We were simply retained because they wanted to get accredited, and they knew we could assist with that," he said. "That's the sum total of what I was told."
There are at least five ongoing lawsuits against the Bayonne Police Department.
In November, city resident Brandon Walsh filed a federal lawsuit against the department, claiming that Police Officer Domenico Lillo beat him up while he was handcuffed. The FBI recently arrested Lillo on that charge, along with the charge of lying about the Decemeber 2013 incident on police reports.
Since his federal indictment, Lillo has been suspended without pay pending his trial.
City resident Paul Dabrowski is also suing the department, claiming that he was unlawfully arrested in 2011 and 2012 and that, in one instance, officers lied about him having a BB gun. An attorney for the department for the most part either denied the lawsuit's allegations or stated that there was insufficient information to either admit or deny them.
Another city resident, Jason Rios, is suing the department over an incident on Aug. 29, 2010 in which he says police pepper-sprayed him, knocked him out cold, and arrested him for no reason. A police report said Rios acted in a "threatening manner." A witness recorded a portion of the incident that shows Rios being sprayed in the face with a chemical irritant.
The family of Mariano Vargas also filed a lawsuit, claiming wrongful death and excessive force after Vargas was shot dead in his home on March 21, 2012. Authorities said Bayonne police arrived at Vargas' home to do a welfare check after getting a call from his niece; and police shot Vargas when they say he lunged at them with a knife.
Most recently, city resident Tyrone Johnson filed a lawsuit against the department claiming he was illegally detained for 8 to 10 hours, according to his attorney. City officials declined to comment on the matter, citing pending litigation.
In another incident back in June, a Bayonne man's family said he died after police used pepper spray to break up a fight in the foyer of an apartment building. Law firm Clemente Mueller, based in Cedar Knolls, confirmed that they are representing Peter Lee Williams' family, but declined to comment on whether they plan to file a lawsuit.
Police said at the time that there was no indication that an altercation between Williams and Bayonne police officers led to his death.
Jonathan Lin may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jlin_jj. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.
MANTOLOKING – Two years after this barrier island town was all but wiped off the map in superstorm Sandy, the Borough Council on Tuesday night named its emergency management operations chief as the top cop in its small Police Department.
Sgt. Stacy S. Ferris was sworn in as the chief of police for a probationary period of one year and was authorized to assume the office with immediate effect.
Ferris also has the historic distinction of being only the second female police officer in Ocean County to rise to the rank of police chief. In 2011, Berkeley Police Chief Chief Karin T. DiMichele became the first woman to break that glass ceiling with her appointment.
As Ferris was administered the oath of office Tuesday, she struggled to maintain her composure as she appeared clearly moved by the moment.
A veteran of the Mantoloking force since she was hired full-time in 2005, Ferris will command a staff of seven, full-time officers. A larger complement of special, part-time officers augment the department in the summer months or when special projects require the additional help.
The council vote was unanimous, but not without controversy. Ferris was promoted over two senior officers, who had also applied for the job. Lt. John Barcus has been a full-time police officer since 1995 and was until Tuesday night in command of the department since Chief Mark Wright retired in July. The second officer, Sgt. Eugene Saccone, also has nearly a decade more experience than Ferris.
Raising some eyebrows in town, the mayor and council have felt compelled to name an outside “mentor/consultant” to guide Ferris during her probationary term.
In conjunction with Ferris’s promotion Tuesday, the council appointed South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond J. Hayducka to serve as the new chief’s mentor and adviser at a rate of $150 per hour. The mayor and council are expected to ratify a formal, yearlong contract with Hayducka at its Dec. 16 meeting.
As a police sergeant in Mantoloking, Ferris received an annual salary of about $101,000. As police chief, her new salary has not been determined but will be within 15 days, said Councilman Robert S. McIntyre, Jr., chairman of the borough’s public safety committee.
“It is, however, required by (law) to be seven percent above the lieutenant’s salary,” McIntyre said.
Barcus currently receives a base salary of about $121,000. At the time of his retirement, Wright received a base salary of $130,960, all according to state records.
Despite the small size of the Mantoloking Police Department, the mayor and council approached the process for selecting a new chief with — ostensibly — the sophistication of a much larger town.
The public safety committee reported in a five-page document made public Tuesday that its members had invested 250 hours “developing criteria, strategies and instruments for assessing the relative qualifications of the three members of the department currently eligible for promotion to the vacant position of chief of police.”
The borough had retained the services of a police consulting firm, called Rodgers Group, LLC, headed up by its owner Frank E. Rodgers, a retired lieutenant colonel in the New Jersey State Police. Rodgers advised the committee in its preparation of a “professional development, experience, and leadership profile” that each candidate was required to complete. The three officers were evaluated on their ability to articulate in writing about their job-related experience, knowledge, skills and abilities.
Erik Larsen: 732-557-5709 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Linda Arntzenius
As recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, have made clear, open lines of communication between the police and the people they serve are a vital part of modern policing. It’s been almost two years since the Princeton Police Department was formed as a result of the consolidation of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township into a single municipality.
The process of joining two formerly independent police departments, each with its own procedures and practices, its own culture, you might say, has not been painless. A process of review and self-refl ection that has been described as a model for other municipalities, brought to light a past history of dysfunction.
When the Borough and Township police became one in January 2013, a new era was heralded by then Police Chief David Dudeck, appointed to lead the new department in what seemed to be an atmosphere of renewal. One of Dudeck’s first tasks was to unveil a new Police Community Survey that asked residents what they wanted from their police. But even before the results of the survey were in, Dudeck was on leave amidst allegations of misconduct; he subsequently retired last September, shortly after seven officers, all of whom served under Dudeck when he was chief of Borough Police, filed a lawsuit against him, the department and the municipality, alleging discrimination and harassment based on “gender, sexual orientation and disability.” It was not a good start for Princeton’s largest, most expensive, most essential and most community-sensitive department.
The lawsuit is not the subject of this article, which is focused instead on the Department that has not only weathered past storms but is emerging as a different kind of police department, one in which transparency is the order of the day.
In April, a popular new police chief was appointed from within departmental ranks by unanimous decision of Mayor Liz Lempert and members of Princeton Council. Nicholas K. Sutter, 43, who had served in the Borough since 1995, and had been acting chief since his predecessor’s departure, was cheered by a roomful of blueuniformed officers at Witherspoon Hall. As acting chief, he had had been commended frequently as a unifying influence, introducing new community policing and traffi c services, and strengthening community relations.
“The department is very different now,” says Sutter, who grew up in Hillsborough in a family of public servants; both his parents were teachers. He always wanted to be a police officer and, although he explored possible careers in business and education, graduating with a double-major in finance and economics from Kean University in 1993, it was police work that drew him. “My uncle, Carl Gaebel, was an officer in North Plainfield and he was an enormous influence on me.” Sutter likens his job to a “calling.” “Policing requires service and sacrifice from officers and their families, it has to be a calling and even if many officers don’t appreciate that to begin with, they soon come to realize it.”
Sutter and his wife Carrie have three boys, Thomas, 10, Nicholas, Jr., 7 and Gavin, 4. Married for 14 years, they live in Lawrenceville. He came to Princeton straight out of Police Academy and has worked his way through division ranks, from patrol through to sergeant, detective sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain. Serving in every division gives him an edge, he believes.
PERIOD OF CHANGE
“Police departments are ordinarily well established and deeply entrenched organizations with long histories and established cultures,” says Sutter. “That often makes them resistant to change, and that makes the enormous change this department has gone through all the more remarkable. If not managed correctly those changes could have been catastrophic but now, one and half years on, the department is settling into its stride.”
To get to where it is now, the department built on that initial community survey, plunged into extensive offi cer training in such matters as the handling of immigration status with respect to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement laws, and worked to build trust in Princeton’s immigrant community, bringing to light the complex issue of wage theft, a crime that takes advantage of undocumented workers employed by contractors, restaurant owners, landscapers, private residents or companies. After a very lengthy process in which the entire agency’s practices and procedures came under scrutiny, the department was accredited by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police in March.
Sutter acknowledges “the imperative role” played by the Rodgers Group, the public safety consulting firm hired by the municipality post-consolidation to report on the health and culture of Princeton’s police. “The Rodgers Report entailed an innovative process rare among established police departments, and going through it entitles the department to think of itself as “cutting-edge.” “We are committed to thinking out of the box. We’re not a traditional police department anymore,” says Sutter.
According to the new Chief, transparency is a major aspect of that difference and it is encouraged by making sure there are regular opportunities for views and ideas to reach the Chief’s ear. “Nick is really good at taking in information and letting us know that not everything is written in stone, things can be tweaked,” says Detective Ben Gering, the police union representative of the PBA (Princeton Benevolent Association). In his weekly meetings with Sutter, Gering serves as a conduit for timeand man-power-saving ideas from offi cers. It’s a procedure that creates “buy-in” for everyone, he says, “especially in a profession where there are so many rules and procedures; everyone feels that they have input, and they do.”
“Face-to-face meetings are valuable in a profession where so many offi cers work varying shifts,” says Sgt. Geoff Maurer. “Regular staffmeetings with first line supervisors and bureau heads are a way not only to share information but allow the Chief and his administrative staff to better ‘keep a pulse’ on the department. Chief Sutter is very approachable and is genuinely invested in the Department; it is obvious he is giving his all to forge the new agency into one that we, and the community, can be proud of.” The department also publishes monthly online reports.
With all members of the department sharing the same break room, not much is kept behind closed doors. “We all eat lunch together, we talk about our kids, we laugh; we enjoy each others’ company,” says Sutter, who is clearly proud that his offi cers form something of a “large extended family.” “Sharing coffee or lunch with the offi cers is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.” He is quick to point out that all pulled their weight through the recent process of change. “What at fi rst seemed like an impossible task turned out to be very gratifying and they got on with the job right from the start when things were tough; that’s when you really see character,” he says, adding that the Town Administrator, Robert Bruschi, was an enormous infl uence. “Bob served as a mentor to me; I was always in awe of his analytical ability to look at something from many different angles and fi nd solutions that satisfi ed all involved; I learned so much from him about leadership and management.”
“Consolidation was a learning process for everyone and now we are a larger police department with specialized units that can better serve the public,” says Lt. Sharon Papp, one of several female offi cers who are supervisors. Papp joined Borough police in 1993 and was Offi cer of the Year three years later. A graduate of the Trenton Police Academy, she is the daughter of a Trenton police offi cer, who died before she was born.
One other accomplishment that Sutter is particularly proud of is the clarification of what had been an ambiguous relationship between the Princeton Police and Princeton University’s Department of Public Safety. In the past, it was unclear who was responsible for what, which often led to an inefficient duplication of effort when offi cers from both Borough police and campus police would respond to an oncampus break-in, for example.
Sutter researched what had been done in other university towns and found that a clearly spelled out Memorandum of Agreement was a recommended best practice. One of the most important aspects of the agreement, says Sutter, is that the collaboration includes sharing resources and is embodied in a “living, breathing document that is discussed at least once a month, and often more frequently.”
“I’ve educated myself a great deal since my days as a Borough police offi cer and I’ve become much more open to ideas,” says Sutter. “I’ve had to listen and read, listen and understand.”
As a Patrol Sergeant with 18 years in law enforcement, most of it in Princeton, Geoff Maurer is responsible for the supervision of a patrol squad of some eight individuals. “In Princeton, we are fortunate to work in a safe town, where quality of life issues and traffic concerns are the most common complaints. We are service oriented and assist residents in a myriad of ways that might be outside people’s ‘traditional’ perception of what police offi cers do,” says Maurer, an avid cyclist and runner who grew up in Plainsboro and is the proud father of two daughters.
Like many of his colleagues, Maurer worked while earning his master’s degree at Seton Hall University. Like Sutter, he tried business but it wasn’t for him; he prefers the variety that a career in law enforcement brings. His father was also a police offi cer and enjoys interacting with the public through the Community Policing Unit. He has taught the DARE program; assisted parents with child safety; and organized a bike light give-away program to provide rear bike lights to Princeton’s Hispanic population. “Oftentimes offi cers only interact with citizens in a negative context: when they are victims of a crime, when they break the law, or are in a crisis. It is truly gratifying to be a positive influence in people’s lives,” he says.
“The major policing issues in Princeton are quality of life issues,” says Sutter. “The town sees a little bit of everything, as a destination for an influx of visitors, we have traffic issues, and we are keenly aware of our need to ensure the safety of our young people. We police in a proactive way, reaching out to schools and the community at large.”
Besides other duties, Lt. Chris Morgan oversees both the Safe Neighborhood Bureau and the Detective Bureau. “Police work in every aspect is about helping others and the community in which you work; every hour of the day our offi cers are working to make Princeton a better community for our residents and visitors. What I appreciate most about this profession is working with officers and our civilian employees who are committed to the organization, the profession and the community. Because of their professionalism and dedication the Princeton Police Department has quickly identified itself as one the finest police departments in the state. There is a tremendous amount of pride in our organization.”
Morgan, who grew up in Ewing and lives in Robbinsville with his wife Alison and their two children Jack, 8, and Emily, 6, looks forward to events such as “Coffee with a Cop” at local eateries in which local residents sit down with offi cers and enjoy a free cup of coffee and one-on-one conversation. “These sit-downs will break down barriers if residents don’t feel uniformed offi cers are approachable. It is our goal to foster relationships between our offi cers and members of the community, which in turn will benefi t the department as well as the public we serve,” says Morgan whose time away from work is typically spent coaching his son’s little league team or going to his daughter’s dance recitals. Growing up with a police offi cer brother, Morgan saw at fi rst hand the positive impact his brother had on his community. “That’s what guided me toward law enforcement,” he says. A graduate of The College of New Jersey, he has a BS in Law and Justice and an MA from Seton Hall University that was earned as part of the NJ State Police Graduate Studies Program. In addition, he has a certificate in criminal justice education from the University of Virginia and has had Federal Bureau of Investigation training.
Helping people was also an impetus for Patrol Officer Mike Strobel. “I also enjoy the fact that every shift is different and no two days are the same; you have to be mentally and physically prepared for what you may encounter any given day,” says Strobel, now in his fifth year with the Department, after graduating with a degree in criminal justice from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2008. He hopes to go back to school for a master’s degree in the near future.
An interest in problem solving drew Cpl. Marla Montague to law enforcement. Montague grew up in a small farming community in Indiana, not far from Cincinnati, Ohio. She now lives in Ocean County with her husband, also a police officer, and has been with the department for 16 years. The department’s first female firearms instructor, Montague enjoys reading historical biographies and researching her family genealogy in her downtime.
PRINCETON’S FIRST K9 UNIT
This year, the Department added a K9 unit. Officer Harris, a Czech Shepherd named in honor of Borough Police Officer Walter B. Harris, the African American officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1946, is trained in explosive detection, searching, tracking, apprehension, evidence collection, crime prevention, and security. He will also play an important role in community relations as he visits schools and takes part in local events.
His handler, Cpl. Matthew R. Solovay, grew up in Edison and lives in Hamilton with his wife and two boys, aged 4 and 2. Solovay became a Princeton police officer in 2005, after majoring in Criminal Justice at Seton Hall University and graduating from the Alternate Route Program of the John H. Stamler Police Academy. He also has a master’s degree in administrative science from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Being a police dog-handler is an enormous commitment for both Solovay and his family. Officer Harris has become part of the Solovay “pack,” which includes their playful five year-old Labrador retriever, Maverick. “But when Harris comes home from work he doesn’t turn into a pet; he’s a working dog, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; there is no off switch, he has to be ready to go to work at all times,” says Solovay, who enjoys 5K charity runs and watching his favorite sports teams, The New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys. “Only a small percentage of law enforcement offi cers get the opportunity to have a K9 partner and I’m extremely proud of the program and grateful to the department and local government for this dynamic tool.”
With two offi cers hired in August, the number of sworn offi cers is 53, just one fewer than the number immediately post consolidation. Sutter is happy with that. “But the more important question is whether the town’s residents and the governing body are happy with that,” he says. “I believe we can provide excellent service at this number but it’s up to the town to say whether it’s satisfi ed with the service we provide. Given that we are, in essence, a new department, we are still in a testing period, forming our baseline.”
The next big thing on Sutter’s “To Do List” is the development of a strategic plan for the fledgling department. “This is the vehicle that will guide us successfully into the future,” he says. “It’s important that the Princeton community knows that we want them to be proud of us, that each and every one of us wants to serve them in the best way possible.” Pride is a word that Sutter uses a lot, a mantra that serves to dispel the specters of past dysfunction and discord.
The Bloomingdale Police Department has joined the ranks of the very exclusive group of police departments in New Jersey which have been accredited by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
At the Aug. 19 Borough Council meeting, Harry Delgado, accreditation program manager for the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, presented the department with its certification. Though 470 law-enforcement agencies in the state are eligible to go through the accreditation process, Delgado said only 119 police departments have committed to completing the arduous process.
In congratulating the department, Delgado said Bloomingdale has one of the best police departments in New Jersey and perhaps one of the finest departments in the country. The accreditation process is rigorous and requires total commitment, he said.
"Police agencies seek accreditation as a way of assuring the public that the agency meets the highest standards of professionalism, training, and discipline," said Delgado.
Delgado said the accreditation process helps law-enforcement agencies calculate and improve their overall performance. At the foundation of the accreditation process is the adoption of standards that contain a clear statement of professional objectives, and the agency going through the process embarks on a thorough self-analysis to determine how existing operations can be adapted to meet the objectives. Bloomingdale was carefully measured against hundreds of state and national standards of professionalism, he said.
Delgado said an independent reviewing authority, the New Jersey State Chiefs of Police, certifies that the law-enforcement agencies seeking accreditation have met specific requirements and prescribed standards.
When a department achieves accreditation, Delgado said it does not just benefit the department, it benefits the entire municipality.
According to Delgado, research shows that accredited agencies have 11 percent fewer professional liability claims, 18 percent fewer worker compensation claims, and 31 percent fewer auto liability claims. Also, police departments that have earned accreditation and participate in a Joint Insurance Fund receive substantial insurance premium discounts, he said.
As part of the assessment process, Delgado said the assessment team seeks public input over a two-day period. Bloomingdale received a comparatively high number of phone calls – 37 – and the calls were all positive. The callers lauded officers for everything from their assistance during floods to how they treat the kids of the community.
Callers felt that officers genuinely care about the community, he said.
Bloomingdale Police Chief Joseph Borell said at the start of the process he thought the department was in good shape when it came to policies and procedures.
"I cannot put into words how much better we are now that we have gone through the accreditation process," said Borell. "This process is not just for the betterment of the police department, but for the betterment of the people who live in Bloomingdale, frequent Bloomingdale, and for the people we encounter on a daily basis."
Though Borell said every member in the department contributed to the process, Capt. Raymond Mueller spearheaded the accreditation process and spent countless hours bringing it to a successful completion. Borell also thanked the Rodgers Group LLC, which provides accreditation consulting services, for its support.
Council President Ray Yazdi thanked the department for its commitment to the process, which spanned more than 14 months. Yazdi congratulated the department for joining the elite roughly quarter of the state’s police departments to achieve accreditation.
BY MARC LIGHTDALE
NORTHERN VALLEY SUBURBANITE
CRESSKILL — The borough's Police Department received official accreditation on June 12 from New Jersey Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission after the force was able to meet more rigorous requirements.
In March 2013, the Police Department started working toward accreditation to reduce legal liability and insurance premiums, officials said.
The municipal government has spent approximately $35,000 on the accreditation process, however, $25,000 was returned to the borough from the Bergen County Joint Insurance Fund.
Police Chief Edward Wrixon said he anticipates that being accredited, which lasts for three years before the department needs to renew the designation, will have additional costs, so the town may end up using more of the $50,000 initially budgeted.
The Police Department is much stronger now that it is accredited, police said.
"We didn't have a lot of rules and regulations, now we have them," Wrixon said.
All of the rules are contained in a large book, which officers can take home with them, as well as being available on electronic devices.
"The book is big and overwhelming to the guys," Wrixon said. "If they're not following it, they don't have an excuse. It puts pressure on them to do things by the book."
He gave credit to the Rodgers Group, the company contracted to work with the department and oversee the process.
Wrixon said the process took about 15 months. While it will help reduce liability and insurance premiums, there's a lot more importance to the process, which involved putting rules in place to govern everything from policies on use of weapons to passwords for police computers to addressing concerns with personal appearance.
"You have policies, rules and regulations that ensure you're meeting the highest qualifica-tion set by the state," Wrixon said.
He said the change to the rules and procedures was a "night and day" difference. The rules take security on evidence to whole new levels, requiring written documentation of every step in the process of an arrest in regards to contraband, and checking for it when somebody enters and leaves a police vehicle as one example.
For use of computers, passwords have to periodically be changed when previously that was not a requirement.
Wrixon said the police offi-cers use to leave all their reports open. Now, if an officer takes out a police report, they must fill out a card that says they have the file.
Wrixon said that officers are required to do reports in certain ways and handle situations in certain ways because of the new regulations.
"After the patrolman files a report, everything is reviewed," Wrixon said. "If there's a mistake, it goes back to the officer to be corrected."
During the process, Wrixon took a fresh look at the appearance policies contained in the police rules and regulations and realized that he had three officers technically in violation of the tattoo policy. The policy has now been revised with changes in language that allow the chief to have discretion in determining whether a tattoo on the arm that is visible is offensive or not.
Overall, the process was labor-intensive but comes in very handy, Wrixon said.
"It was tedious but it's kind of bloomed," Wrixon said. "It started with this, 'Oh my God.' It started blooming and building, started expanding it more. It kind of flowed. It's a lot of work though, I'm not going to lie."
"It keeps people in line," Wrixon said. "Here are the rules, play by them."
By CINDY NEVITT Staff Writer
SEA ISLE CITY — Calling it “a very, very proud day in our history,” Mayor Leonard Desiderio acknowledged the city’s police department Monday morning for its tenacity in achieving accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
Earning the recognition, which 20 percent of New Jersey law enforcement agencies have, requires implementing policies and procedures that conform to 100 written standards that are acknowledged as being the best practices for law enforcement officers and agencies.
Sea Isle City is the ninth law agency in Cape May County to receive accreditation, making Cape May County, with 70 percent of its agencies accredited, tops in southern New Jersey. As of March 20, there were seven agencies with accreditation in Atlantic County, three in southern Ocean County and one in Cumberland County.
“This shows you the quality of law enforcement in Cape May County,” said Sheriff Gary Schaffer, whose office, along with the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, is among the county’s accredited agencies. “Cape May County should be extremely proud.”
“We are here for a very happy occasion, a very proud moment,” Desiderio said. “Much hard work and time and effort went into Sea Isle receiving this.”
“Sea Isle City can be proud of its professionalism and the highest standards of law enforcement,” said Harry Delgado, accreditation program manager for NJSACOP. “It is joining a very exclusive group of law enforcement agencies.”
Delgado said the department’s ability to regroup after Hurricane Sandy destroyed its police building and forced it to relocate to an unused school building made this accreditation a special one.
“They retrofitted this building and made a school a functional police building and met the standards,” Delgado said. “That’s impressive. The adversity they had to face and overcome is very impressive.”
“We never had a book of policies,” said Chief Tom D’Intino, who made accreditation a priority starting in 2010. “We never had a departmental book from A to Z. My goal was to make sure we had it.”
Lt. Tom McQuillen is the man he chose to see that his wish was granted. “He was the thorn in my side,” D’Intino said. and by extension, the thorn in the sides of the department’s 22 full-time and 24 seasonal officers.
McQuillen, for his part, credited retired State Police Lt. Dan Walsh with being the thorn in his side that kept the department on track and able to achieve accreditation within an established timeframe. Walsh is a consultant with the Rodgers Group, a public safety training organization headquartered in Island Heights.
“Our primary focus was One, setting up the new police building, and Two, showing compliance with all the rigorous standards,” McQuillen said. “We were focused but we would never have attained this without Lt. Walsh.”
Accreditation also entitles cities to insurance discounts, something Delgado said makes taxpayers happy. It also, McQuillen said, reduces the city’s risk and liability exposure.
“It’s a lot more paperwork, but we’re living in a litigious society,” McQuillen said. “You have to have the policies. If you don’t, that’s how you get burned in a lawsuit.”
Also present to congratulate the Police Department for its achievement were Cape May County Freeholders Gerald Thornton and Marie Hayes, city solicitor Paul Baldini, Councilman Bill Kehner, and county Director of Operations Mike Laffey.
Contact Cindy Nevitt:
BY EMMA HINCHLIFFE
The Montvale Police Department has earned accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
A nine-person committee unanimously decided to grant accreditation to the force after a yearlong process leading up to the department's hearing June 12.
Accreditation, which is valid for three years, is voluntary for New Jersey law enforcement agencies, and the process clarifies standards and objectives within the force. Of 470 eligible agencies in the state, 123 are accredited, according to the police chief association's accreditation program manager, Harry Delgado.
Sixteen Bergen County and three Passaic County towns have accredited forces, along with the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office and Bergen County Sheriff's Office. Eight other agencies, including Cresskill's, received accreditation at the same time as Montvale.
"Having standards for best practices and having standards for the facility and equipment is one of the best things you can do to keep the agency at the top of its game," Montvale Police Chief Jeremy Abrams said. "It's good for us, it's good for the town, it's good for the taxpayers who are getting what they're paying for."
Before progressing to the hearing, Montvale hosted on-site assessors from the association who evaluated the agency's reports, policies and building, finding one flaw — a nine-week field training program was mistakenly listed as four weeks long — that Montvale was able to correct.
Montvale also sought public comment during the accreditation process, which Delgado said was entirely positive, with comments emphasizing the department's "quick thinking" and fairness.
"It speaks to the relationship between the community and the police officers," Delgado said.
The Police Department hired the Rodgers Group, a firm that specializes in public safety, to prepare throughout the accreditation process. The group's services cost about $30,000, $20,000 of which came from drug seizure funds and $10,000 of which came from a joint insurance fund, Abrams said. According to Abrams, the accreditation process did not increase any costs for taxpayers.
Representatives from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police will come to a Montvale council meeting in July or August to present a certificate verifying the department's accreditation.
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS — After two years of retooling policies and protocols to meet higher standards and increase the department's professionalism, the borough's Police Department received accreditation status.
The accreditation designation helps the Police Department when applying for grants. The designation also improves internal and external communication protocols with recommended software that stores data the state mandates departments keep on file. Additionally, the process helps reduce the chance of litigation against the department and lowers insurance premiums.
"The money the towns are supposed to save by implementing the program will offset the cost of accreditation, especially when taken over a number of years," said Lt. William Henkelman, who assisted in the process.
Police Chief Michael Cioffi, wanting to hold the department to higher standards, researched how to bring the accreditation process to the force.
The council ultimately awarded a contract to The Rodgers Group — which provides assistance to municipalities for the program — after the department received $25,000 from the Joint Insurance Fund to start the process.
The department, subsequently, received notice on March 20 that it completed all requirements for the accreditation designation, said Cioffi at the April 9 Mayor and Council meeting.
The borough's designation was awarded by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, which will present the department with an award May 14.
Accreditation is a voluntary self-assessment of police departments. It is a process to systematically conduct an internal review and assessment of the agencies' policies and procedures, and make adjustments wherever necessary to meet internationally accepted standards.
"It was an arduous process," said Cioffi. "We started several years ago and were lucky enough [CALEA] unanimously voted to award us [the status]. It's a great achievement because we're recognized as complying with higher standards."
"There are over 120 standards and we have to prove to go by these standards with the way reports and policies are written, records management, evidence collection and things are done at headquarters," Cioffi added.
During the process the department did encounter minor issues such as changing how it handles evidence.
"There were just little things along the way," Cioffi said. "We had to raise the standard for gun lock boxes, add guardian tracking. We went along with every part of the process. It makes the Police Department more professional. You think you're doing things well and it basically shows you that you can do it in a better way to be even more professional."
To have a better grasp on the CALEA policies, the department purchased a computerized document management system to house them.
"It's an easy way for officers to review the policies," Henkelman said. "It's one of the many tools that help with accreditation."
During the accreditation process, it is required to have an officer dedicated to reviewing all policies and procedures to make sure they are up to date and fall in line with state practices. Capt. Daniel Morrissey was designated as the accreditation manager during the process — serving as the liaison between the Rodgers Group and the Police Department.
Several other towns in the Northern Valley, including Closter, Cresskill, Norwood and Tenafly have either finished or are currently participating in the accreditation process.
As expected, the Princeton Police Department (PPD) received accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) Thursday, March 20.
The Princeton Police Department was visited by a team of NJSACOP assessors over two days, Sunday and Monday, January 26 and 27, as the final step toward the first accreditation for the new department following the January 2013 consolidation of the police departments of Princeton Township and Princeton Borough.
All aspects of the new police force were examined by the NJSACOP team: policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services. Members of the public were invited to comment to members of the assessment team on the Princeton Police Department’s ability to comply with the NJSACOP standards, which could be viewed a the Department headquarters, 1 Valley Road.
Captain Nick Sutter, acting chief of police, has described accreditation as “a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.” The accreditation is valid for a three-year period during which time the department must submit annual documentary proof of continued compliance with 100 standards as required by the Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.
The stamp of approval shows that the PPD is in compliance with those standards and is the culmination of a lengthy process that included much discussion by members of Princeton Council and Mayor Lempert on police matters during last year and continuing even now.
In 2013, the municipality grappled with issues such as the form of civilian oversight of the police, the seat of “appropriate authority,” and the need for post-consolidation stability after a history that more than one council member described as “dysfunctional,” in reference to the departure of several police chiefs in less than ideal circumstances.
The consolidated department’s first Police Chief David Dudeck, who was appointed to lead the new department in January 2013, went on leave of absence and subsequently retired amid allegations of misconduct and a civil lawsuit brought by seven police officers.
Last summer, the municipality hired a public safety consulting firm, expert in law enforcement accreditation and operations, to report on the health and culture of Princeton’s police.
Their 83-page report, which was presented in November, included perceptions of the police as reported by 11 focus groups made up of police officers, police captains and lieutenants, sergeants, civilian employees, administrators, local merchants, education officials, elected officials, and others. Focus groups commented on quicker response times to calls and greater information sharing in the combined department.
Led by Frank Rodgers, former Deputy Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, who retired in 2007 at the rank of Lt. Colonel after 25 years of service, the consultants of the Rodgers Group, commended the level of transparency of both Council and PPD. Mr. Rodgers described the process of self-examination that the municipality had engaged in as “a model for other communities anticipating consolidation.”
The Rogers Report observed that under the leadership of Captain Nick Sutter, who became acting chief during the absence and subsequent departure of Mr. Dudeck, there had been “great strides” in bringing the two former departments together.
Other observations and recommendations called for the department to: develop a long-term strategic plan; establish initiatives in support of services wanted by the community; establish a leadership and mentoring program; and develop internal systems that reward officer performance.
Being accredited by the State is a benchmark of the “great strides” made so far. “Accreditation results in greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure, stronger defense against civil lawsuits, increased community advocacy, and more confidence in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and respond to community needs,” said Mr. Sutter.
Mayor Lempert has described the Princeton Police Department as “one of the greatest successes of consolidation; doing more and spending less. We’re proud of the work they are doing.”
The next step is the appointment of a new chief of police to lead the department.
Written by: Linda Arntzenius
By CLARE MARIE CELANO
A process that is expected to improve the efficiency of public safety and enhance accountability for the Freehold Borough Police Department is underway, according to Frank E. Rodgers, of the Rodgers Group.
Rodgers is a retired lieutenant colonel from the New Jersey State Police. He attended the March 3 meeting of the Borough Council in Freehold Borough to update officials and the public on the accreditation process the Police Department is undergoing.
Rodgers presented an overview of the accreditation process and said the goal is to make the Police Department compliant with the best practices in the state and to ensure that the department’s policies and business practices are up to state standards.
He said the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police Law Enforcement Accreditation panel will evaluate all policies and procedures in the Police Department, ranging from the use of force and vehicle pursuit to the evaluation of personnel.
Securing the accreditation will decrease insurance premiums to the Joint Insurance Fund by between 5 and 8 percent, according to Rodgers, who said the accreditation process also reduces litigation by an average of 30 percent, which “equates to real dollar savings.”
“We will write between 50 and 60 new policies for the Police Department during the accreditation process. The drafts of two policies, one on rules and regulations and one on public information, have already been delivered to the Police Department,” Rodgers said, noting that the process will take between 12 and 15 months.
Rodgers said part of the accreditation process is to ensure the Police Department is following and enforcing all new policies and procedures. At the end of the process, representatives of the New Jersey Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission will visit the Police Department and perform an on-site inspection to validate that the department is following the new policies.
The Borough Council awarded a $39,000 contract to the Rodgers Group on Dec. 30 to perform the accreditation of the department in accordance with guidelines established by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
The resolution states that “the process requires an in-depth review of every aspect of the agency’s organization, management, operations and administration, which includes establishing department goals and objectives, evaluating the current use of department resources, evaluation of departmental policies and procedures, correcting internal deficiencies and inefficiencies, and providing the opportunity to reorganize without the appearance of personal attacks.”
Police Chief Glenn Roberts previously said the accreditation process “is a great way to increase the professionalism of the department and to stay current with trends, policies and laws. We look forward to engaging this program and implementing it when completed.”
Contact Clare Marie Celano at email@example.com.
SEA ISLE CITY -- In Jan., the Sea Isle City Police Department (SICPD) took a major step toward joining the top 20 percent of law enforcement agencies in the State of New Jersey by earning a perfect score on their on-site assessment with the Accreditation Commission from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP). In addition to being recognized in this elite group of law enforcement professionals, once the SICPD achieves this goal, the City will be eligible for a discount in insurance premiums. Additionally, the SICPD will provide increased safety through highly efficient operational procedures, have greater accountability within the agency, enjoy reduced risk and liability exposure, offer a stronger defense against civil lawsuits, provide increased community advocacy, and possess a greater ability to operate efficiently and respond to community needs.
To achieve accreditation, policies and procedures are implemented or modified to conform to 100 written standards, which have been recognized as being the best practices for law enforcement officers and their agencies. The policies address officer safety issues, equipment requirements and operational guidelines for performing various law enforcement functions.
After enrollment in the program, the first step in reaching accreditation is self-assessment. Following an on-site assessment, the assessors prepare a written report for the NJSACOP Accreditation Commission. The commission then reviews the report and holds a hearing with the agency’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer and Accreditation Manager during a monthly Chiefs of Police meeting. At that meeting, the NJSACOP makes a final decision to determine accreditation status. If accreditation status is achieved, it is good for a period of three years. Compliance with these standards must be re-established every three years after the initial accreditation.
When the SICPD’s Chief Thomas D’Intino was first appointed to his post in 2008, achieving accreditation with the State was among his top priorities. Under his guidance, the SICPD has spent the last several years working towards reaching that goal. To accelerate the process, the SICPD contracted with The Rodgers Group, a private company comprised of credentialed and experienced public safety experts, who assisted in Sea Isle’s quest toward accreditation.
Helping the resort rebound from Super Storm Sandy and having to move all police operations from the City’s damaged Public Safety Building on JFK Boulevard into Sea Isle’s former Public School on Park Road temporarily put the SICPD’s accreditation efforts on hold. However, it wasn’t long before the agency was again on the path toward accreditation.
On Jan. 13 and 14, a team of assessors from the NJSACOP performed an on-site assessment of the SICPD and its operations, which entailed an in-depth review of every aspect of the agency’s organization, management, operations, and administration, including:
--The establishment of agency goals and objectives.
--The evaluation of agency resources being used in accordance with agency goals, objectives and mission.
--Evaluation of agency policies and procedures (the agency’s written directive system).
--The evaluation of an agency’s equipment and facilities for compliance with the standards.
During the on-site accreditation assessment, the SICPD’s equipment, personnel, vehicles and facilities were evaluated to ensure they are in compliance with the State’s best practices. Afterwards, the SICPD received a perfect score and was found to be compliant with all 100 standards.
It is expected that during a Spring NJSACOP meeting, the SICPD will receive their accreditation. Following that meeting, there will be a formal presentation conducted in Sea Isle City.
The Rodgers Group is proud to announce that we have expanded our policy development and training program into the Fire Service. Working in strategic partnership with nationally recognized subject matter experts from an Internationally Accredited Fire Department, we have now modified the program that we have successfully brought to in excess of 125 Law Enforcement Agencies; to now accommodate the needs of the Fire Service.
The new program is designed to develop and deliver customized policies and training modules in all areas critical to the Fire Service.
Our team of Fire Service consultants includes –
Fire Chief Joseph Houck of the Summit New Jersey Fire Department
To see Chief Houck’s biography: http://www.rodgersgroupllc.com/uploaded/J_Houck_Bio.pdf
Fire Chief (Ret.) Christopher J. Cotter of the Summit Fire Department
To see Chief Cotter’s biography: http://www.rodgersgroupllc.com/uploaded/CJ_Cotter_Bio.pdf
Deputy Chief (Ret.) Richard DeGroot of the Summit Fire Department
To see Chief DeGroot’s biography: http://www.rodgersgroupllc.com/uploaded/R_DeGroot_Bio.pdf
For more Information or to contact us please click on the link below: http://www.rodgersgroupllc.com/policywriting.asp
By CLARE MARIE CELANO
FREEHOLD — Municipal officials have determined that the accreditation of the Freehold Borough Police Department will increase the efficiency of public safety and enhance departmental accountability.
To that end, the Borough Council has awarded a contract to the Rodgers Group of Island Heights to perform an accreditation of the Police Department.
The borough received a proposal from the firm on Dec. 18 to perform the job at a cost of $39,000. On Dec. 30 the council hired the company to perform the task in accordance with guidelines established by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
Borough Administrator Joseph Bellina said Police Chief Glenn Roberts came to him about 18 months ago to ask about accreditation for the Police Department.
“The chief said it was something he had been wanting to do for a while,” Bellina said. “The [Police Department’s] rules and regulations have evolved over the years under the past several chiefs, and the plan is to bring them together synergistically as one. Having the Police Department go through the accreditation process will also save us between 5 and 8 percent on our police liability insurance per year.”
Bellina said the Rogers Group is directed by retired New Jersey State Police Lt. Col. Frank E. Rodgers.
Speaking about the accreditation process, Roberts said, “It is a great way to increase the professionalism of the department and to stay current with trends, policies and laws. We look forward to engaging this program and implementing it when completed.”
A resolution passed by the council states that accreditation of a police department increases cooperation and coordination with other law enforcement agencies and other branches of the criminal justice system.
“The process requires an in-depth review of every aspect of the agency’s organization, management, operations and administration, which includes establishing department goals and objectives, evaluating the current use of department resources, evaluation of departmental policies and procedures, correcting internal deficiencies and inefficiencies and providing the opportunity to reorganize without the appearance of personal attacks,” the resolution states.
The resolution states that accreditation standards provide norms against which agency performance can be measured and monitored over time and that they also provide objective measures to justify decisions related to budget requests and personnel policies.
Councilman Jaye Sims, who serves on the public safety committee, said accreditation was an idea that was discussed by council members.
“We felt this was a good direction to head toward because it will make everything uniform, i.e., policies, and other ways to handle things. Many other agencies have done this. In fact, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office is an accredited agency,” Sims said.
Contact Clare Marie Celano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a special meeting held last week, Princeton’s Mayor and Council heard from the Rodgers Group, the public safety consulting firm hired this summer to report on the health and culture of Princeton Police Department.
The department was formed in January after consolidation of Princeton Township and Princeton Borough, which each had its own force.
The Rodgers Group is expert in law enforcement accreditation and operations and has been used for consulting work by both Princetons in the past.
At the meeting, Frank Rodgers, former Deputy Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police who retired in 2007 at the rank of Lt. Colonel after 25 years of service, commended the level of transparency of Council and police department. “What you are doing here is a model for other communities anticipating consolidation,” he said.
Mr. Rodgers urged the municipality to make hiring a permanent leader for the police department a top priority. Furthermore, he recommended that the town promote a chief from within departmental ranks and not to add a civilian public safety director. “From my personal observation, the department has coalesced around its current leadership and interjecting an outside public safety director would upset the apple cart, and not add any value to the equation.”
“The stability of leadership in the department is crucial to the successful transformation of the post-consolidation merger of the Borough and Township police departments,” he said, and went on to praise the job that was being done by acting chief Captain Nick Sutter.
Mr. Sutter has been running the police department since late February when former Chief David Dudeck took extended leave amidst allegations of harassment and discrimination. Mr. Dudeck retired after the police union agreed not to file charges against him. Seven Princeton officers have since filed a suit alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.
The report states that there were “strong feelings among officers who were interviewed that the head of the agency should be a chief of police. If the governing body chooses to go in another direction, swift and effective communication with organizational members will be required to mitigate the impact of further change to the agency which has operated with uncertainty for more than two years.”
Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller was the first to raise the specter of the police department’s past history. In addition to the lawsuit against Mr. Dudeck, a suit is pending regarding the termination of two former Township officers forced to resign when former Chief Mark Emann was removed from his post for allegedly accepting gifts from a gun dealer during a police department trade-in for new weapons.
In the light of recent lawsuits and Mr. Dudeck’s resignation “are you saying that new leadership will improve our record,” she asked Mr. Rodgers. “Isn’t that putting too much on the shoulders of one individual.”
“Now that there is self-awareness the job will be easier, especially with a new leader making a strategic plan in the New Year,” responded Mr. Rodgers.
Ms. Crumiller asked whether appointing a Public Safety Director to whom the new chief would answer would be a good idea.
“The last thing you need is more change, what you need is stability. You’ve had success over the last 12 months and there is a degree of confidence in the acting chief. There would be no rationale for interjecting someone from outside into the situation. Princeton isn’t a large community. What a public safety director can do, a police chief can do. Why spend money on someone who cannot do all that a chief can do?”
“But every chief we’ve had over last five years or so has left under less than ideal circumstances,” said Ms. Crumiller, to which Mr. Rodgers responded: “I can’t speak to any of that because it happened in the past and isn’t material to anything we did here.”
Ms. Crumiller was not entirely convinced. “Change is something we should probably make,” she said, suggesting that the governing body might seek other opinions about the structure of the department leadership.
Mr. Rodgers was quick to respond: “What you do not need is more change and you’ve had a record of success for the last 12 months.”
“You’ve clearly picked up on a lot of recent progress, but what more can Council do,” asked Councilwoman Heather Howard. She requested specific recommendations from Mr. Rodgers about three challenges: how do we stay the course, how do we stabilize leadership, and what will a strategic plan look like?
Also retired from the state police, Philip Coyne of the Rodgers Group likened a strategic plan to a GPS in a car. What you first need to know is where you want to get to. What does success mean five years from now. Work back from there to your starting place and identify the milestones in one, three and five year increments. The report’s 13 recommendations, he said, were created to become an integral part of a strategic plan.
“Continue the course,” said Mr. Rodgers, adding that Council should expect accountability from its police department. “Remember law enforcement doesn’t run the show, it reports to the show and may need to be reminded of that every now and again.”
Princeton resident Alexi Assmus, who was at the meeting, later commented: “I was glad to see that the Rogers group reported that current leadership has made great strides in bringing the departments together and that focus groups stated there were quicker response times to calls and greater information sharing in the combined department. Internal and external focus group members expressed concern that further reducing the force would negatively impact the department’s ability to provide services to the community, and I look forward to seeing an analysis of how many officers Princeton needs in its patrol squads.”
But Ms. Assmus wondered about the accuracy of self-reporting and said that she was hoping to see more of an analysis of how the size of the police department was arrived at. “Was it a way to save money and promote consolidation,” she asked, pointing out that the majority of consolidation savings came from cuts to the police department.
Councilman Lance Liverman praised both the Rodgers Group for their report, which cost report the municipality in excess of $10,000, and the police department, which he said had been tainted by a “few bad apples,” but which is “full of great people.” He particularly commended Mr. Sutter for his leadership over the past year.
Regarding the method of the report, Mr. Rodgers said “I don’t know of any other police department that has done this. The report’s principal value is the self-awareness it offers to incoming leadership in knowing what the work force looks like, what there is to work with in making plans for future management. That was our intention.”
”This has been a useful exercise for the department,” said Ms. Lempert in thanking the Rodgers Group. “The police department is one of the greatest successes of consolidation; doing more and spending less. We’re proud of the work they are doing.”
Council and Mayor were to discuss the report and police department leadership in closed session Monday night. “We’d like to make a decision soon in order to give stability to the department, she said. “We will be talking about next steps as a follow up to the recommendations made in the report.”
The 83-page “Princeton Police Department Organizational Health and Culture Assessment Report” includes a DiSC classic group personal assessment commonly used to improve productivity, teamwork and communication.
Forty-seven individuals took the assessment, which categorizes people and examines strengths and weaknesses. “The value of this assessment is improved self-understanding,” said retired N.J. State Police Lieutenant Vance Mattis of the Rodgers Group. “Not surprisingly for a law-enforcement environment,” he said, “the department is made up of conscientious personality-types.”
The report also includes responses from 11 focus groups comprised of, among others, police officers, police captains and lieutenants, sergeants, civilian employees, administrators, local merchants and education officials, and elected officials. These groups reported on their perception of the Princeton police.
It concludes with recommended actions to: develop a long-term strategic plan that provides a road map for success at one, three, and five year intervals; establish initiatives in support of services wanted by the community; establish a leadership and mentoring program; provide supervision, team building, motivation and effective communication training programs; and develop internal systems that reward officer performance.
To read the full report, visit the municipal website: www.princetonnj.gov.
Written by: Linda Arntzenius
To see the full report click here.
An outside consulting firm that spent months analyzing the police department’s operations told council tonight that a new police chief is needed, and soon.
“We recommend without reservation that the agency promote a chief of police from within its own ranks,” said Frank Rodgers, president of The Rodgers Group. “The agency has coalesced around its current leadership. The anxiety associated with the merger of the departments has been alleviated and transparent and tangible evidence of progress directly attributable to the agency’s current leadership is abundantly clear.”
The study by the Rodgers Group, which cost the town about $12,000, resulted in an 83-page report that touched on many aspects of the department through focus groups, personality tests, questionnaires and surveys.
It found, among other things, that the department had made some strides post-consolidation in service, but focus group members still had major concerns about a chiefless department, about sniping from outside of the department, and expressed the thought that the council is too wrapped up with partisan politics for the town to move forward. The focus group comprised members of the public, police officers and town officials.
The study was commissioned on the heels of Chief David Dudeck’s departure in an effort to try to prevent future problems within the department from arising, said Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller.
“We had seven officers suing us and it’s a big humongous lawsuit and unfortunate circumstances with the police that are difficult to talk about, but I think it’s our duty up here to address these problems and make sure they don’t happen again,” Crumiller said.
In August, seven officers filed a lawsuit accusing Dudeck of harassment by making inappropriate sexual remarks on numerous occasions. The town of Princeton and Dudeck were also named in the suit.
Dudeck, a 30-year veteran of the force, was put on leave in March after the local Policemen’s Benevolent Association brought similar charges of administrative misconduct against him.
The PBA complaint was withdrawn after Dudeck and the town agreed to a severance package in April, and a potential investigation by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office into the chief’s conduct never began and, as a result of the retirement agreement, never happened.
Since the situation with Dudeck arose earlier this year, there was some thought among officials that now might be the time to consider installing a civilian police director.
Crumiller said tonight she supports the idea of a chief, but fears that the same problems would present themselves again and that it could be too much pressure on just one person. Maybe it is a time for change, she said.
“I’m afraid that every chief we thought was really great, and had the most amount of confidence in over the last 5 years or so in both municipalities, has kind of left under less-than-ideal circumstances,” Crumiller said.
But Rodgers said he and his group strongly recommended against it, saying it would “upset the applecart” and that the focus group responses noted a shift of positive and shared communication.
“Attempting to interject a police director in is simply unnecessary and would erode much of the progress made by the agency to date,” Rodgers said. “Your principal challenge here is that you’ve been doing nothing but change for the last year. The last thing you need is more change. You need stability.”
Since Dudeck left, Capt. Nick Sutter has been the officer in charge and said this week that the report and the months of study has been a huge tool for the department moving forward.
“It establishes a baseline for us going forward and provides tremendous guidance in terms of management and leadership philosophies,” Sutter said.
He said the study was extremely inclusive and involved members from the community at large, all of whom “deserve input on their police department”.
To see the full report click here
A consultant tonight urged the Princeton governing body to make hiring a permanent leader for the police department a top priority, and recommended that the town promote a chief from within the ranks rather than creating a civilian public safety director position.
Frank Rodgers, head of the Rodgers Consulting group and a former deputy superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, told the council at a special meeting and in a letter sent to municipal officials this afternoon that the stability of leadership in the department tops the list for recommendations by the group, and said permanent leadership is critical to finalizing the transformation of the merged Princeton Borough and Princeton Township police departments.
“We recommend the promotion of member of the organization rather than bringing in a separate public safety director or police director,” Rodgers said. “Hiring a public safety director would squander the victory you have achieved in consolidation, upset the apple cart, and not add any value.”
Rodgers praised the leadership of Capt. Nick Sutter, who has been running the police department since late February when former chief David Dueck was put on leave after accusations surfaced that he verbally harassed some officers. Dudeck retired in exchange for the police union agreeing not to file charges against him. After he retired, seven officers filed a suit alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.
“The department has coalesced around the current leadership,” Rodgers said. “Our belief is that attempting to interject a police director is simply unnecessary and will erode much of the progress.”
The audit addresses issues regarding how the police department functions and looks at personnel issues, but it does not address the size of the police department and how many police officers the town should have. The issue of the size of the department is being looked at separately.
The Princeton Borough Police, Princeton Township Police, and the merged department have faced major internal problems in recent years. A lawsuit is pending regarding the termination of two former Princeton Township police officers. The officers were forced to resign when Chief Mark Emann was removed as chief because he allegedly accepted a rifle and a revolver as gifts from a gun dealer when trading in police department firearms for new department weapons.
Rodgers praised the police department, said the officers were very transparent during the study, and that the department is healthy. He said other police departments should emulate the Princeton Police Department.
But some officials questioned the assessment given problems in recent years.
“Change is something we should probably make,” Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller said, suggesting that the governing body seek other opinions about the structure of the department leadership.
“You’ve done nothing but change over the last year,” Rodgers said. “What you do not need is more change. You’ve had a record of success for the last 12 months. This does not exist in most communities I have the opportunity to collaborate with. There is a unique level of professionalism in this department.”
But Crumiller, who is open to the idea of hiring a civilian public safety director, said she is still concerned given recent history.
“Every chief over last five years or so, or even longer, in both municipalities has left under less than ideal circumstances, whether it be a buy out, or making deals that cost the taxpayers a lot of money.”
Rodgers said that history is not part of his group’s review.
“It is not material to anything we did here, and we are not prepared to speak to any of that,” Rodgers said.
Resident Jan Weinberg asked the Rodgers Group to comment on the relationship between the town administrator and the police department. The administrator oversees the department.
“From my interactions with the administrator, whether it has been during Dudeck’s time or now, Ive found it to be a good collaborative relationship,” Rodgers said. “I’ve never seen a sense of acrimony. It seemed to be a very supportive relationship.”
The Rodgers Group, a public safety consulting firm, was hired by the town this summer to conduct an audit of the police department in the wake of consolidation and the most recent issues with Dudeck. Both Princetons previously used the firm for consulting work. There was not competitive bidding process or selection process when the town selected the firm. The contract for the audit was $11,495 plus fees for holding focus groups.
A complete list of the recommendations in the report:
- Stability of leadership within the department has to be established. There were strong feelings among officers who were interviewed that the head of the agency should be a chief of police. If the governing body chooses to go in another direction, swift and effective communication with organizational members will be required to mitigate the impact of further change to the agency which has operated with uncertainty for more than two years.
- Team analysis and individual coaching sessions will allow the agency to leverage information that has been obtained during this assessment and potentially alleviate conflicts that may be occurring in different work groups.
- The organizational culture assessment should be repeated at one, three and five year intervals in order to track the progress of the department.
- Consolidation has raised the anxiety of the agency workforce. This can be mitigated by regular communication of goals and objectives and positively reinforcing contributions members make toward them.
- Formal and informal internal communication strategies should be developed that support and reinforce organizational priorities.
- Leaders have to ensure that people receive the support and information they need to be effective in an ever-changing environment.
- To the degree possible, leaders have to isolate indecision or conflict that is occurring outside the control of the organization that may occur that may impact the organization. By doing so they can potentially insulate the emotions of department members from the collateral issues and anxiety that result from that indecision or conflict.
- Provide stability and detailed planning through the development of a long-term organizational strategic plan that provides the organization with a road map for success at one, three and five year intervals. Forecasting future events and initiatives will benefit the members who are more contemplative and deliberate which are personality traits shared by the majority of the agency’s workforce.
- Organizational initiatives and programs should be established that support the organization’s desire to provide services the community desires.
- A purposeful and formalized leadership and mentoring program should be established to account for potential attrition of seasoned personnel.
- Supervision, team building, motivation and effective communication training programs should be provided so that a foundation of competency can be established for officers and detectives who may have to step into roles that are vacated through retirements. Planning in this fashion will prepare the department by benefiting from the knowledge and experience of seasoned officers before they leave the department.
- Internal systems that reward officer performance in areas that support organizational priorities and customer service should be developed.
- Promoting programs and initiatives where officers are better engaged in the community will build camaraderie internally, and demonstrate that community needs are a priority to the department. There is a strong belief among TRG Team members that various community groups would enjoy an opportunity to frame events to meet this goal.
The full report is available on the town’s website.
Mayor Liz Lempert said the police department is one of the greatest successes of consolidation.
Councilman Lance Liverman praised the report and the police department and said the department has been wrongly tainted by many people recently.
“You know what they say about a few bad apples,” he said. “It is full of great people.”
To see the full report click here
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