Tuckerton Approves Resource Policeman for Elementary School

By Pat Johnson | Dec 04, 2019
Photo by: Pat Johnson

Tuckerton — A shared service agreement between Tuckerton borough and the Tuckerton Elementary School was approved during the Dec. 2 council meeting. The borough will supply a full-time police officer to serve at the school. The school will contribute $20,000 toward the officer’s salary and benefits and a one-time $350 fee for special school resource officer training. The officer will be armed.

The borough plans to replace the loss of a police officer in the ranks with a Class II officer. According to Police Chief Brian Olsen, a Class II officer is armed and has the same authority as a patrolman but is considered part time, and has no authority to enforce the law once he is off-duty, unlike other officers.

When asked by resident Paula Bell if the chief considered getting a Class III officer, a position recently created by the state attorney general that includes retired police officers, Olsen said a Class III would have been more expensive and harder to find as there are requirements such as the time span of retiring within three years of the rehire.

Class II officers are usually recent graduates of the police academy and the position is often a stepping stone to patrolman.

Gerard Schultz, an EMT driver for Great Bay Regional Emergency Medical Services, thanked the police and fire department for the response on Thursday morning, Nov. 21 when Miguel Angel Villegas of New Haven, Conn., was accused of trading gunfire with a Tuckerton police office. The suspect then fled, causing a massive manhunt by various law enforcement agencies and also causing local schools to take emergency measures to shelter in place.

“I never saw so many police in my life. You did a fabulous job in informing people. Great job,” said Schultz.

During regular business, the borough council approved a measure to make the more mundane daily tasks of police officers easier by agreeing to spend $4,078 for E-ticket equipment for the six patrol cars. Olsen explained that instead of filling out a paper ticket from a triple duplicate book that is then transcribed by the officers in their log and sent out by the police department clerk, officers can push a button on their car-based computer to print out the ticket. At the same time, the information arrives at the state, county and borough records.

“It’s a time saver,” said Olsen. Administrator Jenny Gleghorn said it would also cut down on errors.

The E-ticket equipment, software and maintenance contract for five years was awarded through the Bergen County Cooperative.

The borough received a 2020 New Jersey Department of Transportation grant of $350,000 for the Kingfisher Road improvement project in Tuckerton Beach. But the borough will have to pay Arawak Paving an additional $45,256 in its contract to repave Heron Road, bringing the total to $615,256. Gleghorn said there was additional work that needed to be done on storm drains and outfall pipes that were not part of the original contract.

A Heron Road resident complained that water was not draining well there because there are dips in the road. Gleghorn said the dips were to funnel rainwater to storm drains, but when the tide is up there is no way for the road to drain as it goes to the lagoon. The borough also installed flapper valves to the drain pipes, hoping to keep tidal flooding to a minimum. Gleghorn said she would have the engineer check it out and, if necessary, have Arawak return to do additional paving.

Councilman Keith Vreeland introduced an ordinance to repeal the Waterways Commission and add members to the Environmental Commission. The ordinance will have a public hearing and a second reading on Dec. 16. “This will streamline government and make the Environmental Commission more efficient,” said Vreeland.

Councilman Sam Colangelo said that because the two commissions had common goals and some of the same projects to review, and both had trouble making quorums at times, this would make the Environmental Commission stronger.

Later in the meeting, Mayor Sue Marshall accepted the resignation of Nedean Maddox from all her positions: chair of the Waterways Commission, member of the Environmental Commission and vice chair of the Economic Development Committee.

During the public comment period, Tuckerton Beach resident Ann Marie Sweeney said the borough was losing a great asset in Maddox, who had devoted many hours to the borough and had attended various stormwater and climate change programs and fostered relationships with members of various government agencies.

The council accepted Maddox’s resignation “with regrets.”

Sweeney also asked the borough to look into an ordinance concerning dock maintenance recently introduced by Little Egg Harbor that defined fines. Code enforcement officer Jim McAndrew said it was his understanding that the borough has no authority over docks. “Our authority to demand repairs ends at the bulkhead,” he said. McAndrew said the state has the responsibility of enforcing dock maintenance when a dock becomes a navigational hazard.

McAndrew said he does inspect bulkheads on a bi-annual basis and will be doing the inspections this year. “If you see me walking in your yard, that’s what I’m doing,” he said. Councilman Ron Peterson also inspects bulkheads in the warmer months once a year from his boat.

Sweeney gave the mayor and council 15 photos of docks that need repair.

Finally, John Zabrinski of South Green Street asked why the borough does not have the emails of the mayor and council members on its website. Gleghorn said the emails for the mayor and council consist of their first initial and last name @tuckertonborough.com.

— Pat Johnson







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