Fort Lee Police Hosting Pedestrian Safety Seminar at Community Center Wednesday
In an effort to raise awareness, the Fort Lee Police Department is hosting a pedestrian safety seminar to offer information and life saving tips.
by Ann Piccirillo
As part of their "Be Seen, Be Safe" pedestrian safety campaign, the Fort Lee Police Department is hosting a Pedestrian Safety Seminar for all residents, regardless of age, at the Fort Lee Community Center on Wednesday, March 27 at 7p.m.
"I encourage all residents to attend to hear life saving tips," Chief of Police Keith Bendul said.
This seminar is one in a series of seminars that the police department is bringing to the community to help raise awareness and promote pedestrian safety. Community Policing Officer Anthony Kim and Traffic Bureau Officer Michael Bialoblocki conducted two seminars in January and March at the Fort Lee Senior Center designed to increase the safety of senior residents by educating them on how to remain aware of their surroundings while walking. A pedestrian safety seminar was also conducted by Chief Bendul and Traffic Supervisor Ricky Mirkovic last month for the residents of Century Tower on Parker Avenue.
Pedestrian safety has become a top initiative for the Fort Lee Police Department since early 2012 when the number of accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians began to rise significantly. According to Bendul, 12 pedestrians have been struck in the first two months of 2013, including one fatality.
During Wednesday's presentation, the police department will be distributing red flashing reflector lights pedestrians can use to clip onto clothing to raise visibility to drivers. “See for Safety” ice scrapers will also be distributed in an effort to remind drivers to comply with the law by removing snow and ice from the car before driving.
"Limited vision increases the risk of the driver striking a pedestrian or another car," Bendul said.
The items being distributed by the Fort Lee Police Department come at no cost to the taxpayers, Bendul said. They were purchased with confiscated drug funds.
Since 2012, the police department has launched a borough-wide enforcement campaign in response to the number of pedestrians who were fatally struck. Bendul reported that since early 2012, summonses have been issued to either the driver or the pedestrian if they violated a motor vehicle statute during the collision. The results of the 2012 program will be analyzed and incorporated into the “Be Seen, Be Safe” campaign.
The Fort Lee Community Center is located at 1355 Inwood Terrace.
New NHPD boots on the ground
by Lorenzo Ligato
Forty new police officers will soon hit the streets of New Haven.
As part of an ongoing effort to increase police presence in all of the city's neighborhoods, the New Haven Police Department introduced its newest hires to the public during a Monday afternoon press conference at its 1 Union Ave. headquarters. The 40 police officers — all of whom have graduated from the New Haven Police Academy — are completing a three-month field-training program after which they will be deployed to walking beats throughout the city, according to NHPD Chief Dean Esserman.
“My marching orders were clear. Bring violence down in this city and bring community policing back to every neighborhood in this city,” Esserman said. “What you see behind me is a promise this city has kept to the community.”
The extension of the city's Police Department was first announced at a press conference in January, when Esserman and Mayor John DeStefano Jr. discussed their plans for 2013 following the 50 percent drop in homicides from 2011 to 2012. Two months later, the city has followed through on its promises: By next week, each of New Haven's 10 policing districts will be assigned four new officers charged with building relations with community members and businesses in their district, Esserman said. He added that he made the decision for all new hires to begin their career with the NHPD on walking beats, in keeping with his commitment to a more community-based policing strategy.
“We are not strangers in New Haven — we belong to the people of New Haven,” Esserman said. “We will be what we promised: a neighborhood-based, community-based department.”
At Monday's conference, DeStefano praised the work of the Police Department, adding that the city has allocated approximately $2 million to ramp up the number of police officers. DeStefano described the increase in police presence throughout the city as a “major budgetary commitment.”
“Folks have been very clear with me, with the department, with their local legislators, the aldermen, that they want to see police in the neighborhood,” DeStefano said.
The Board of Aldermen's public safety chairman Brian Wingate and Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen '04 were also in attendance at the Monday announcement. Both Wingate and Hausladen applauded Esserman's community policing philosophy.
In addition to the 40 new policemen announced this Monday, 27 cadets will graduate from the police academy later this year, bringing the NHPD head count to a total of 422 officers, Esserman said. Despite budget constraints, he added that the Police Department will be bolstered again through a second recruitment drive in May and June of this year.
According to Esserman, the NHPD will hire a total of 107 new officers by the end of this year.