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Public Safety at Risk Under Police Budget, Chief Says

Chief William Nally presents his budget requests

Chief William Nally of the Lacey Township Police Department presented his requests for the 2011 municipal budget to the committee at the budget workshop meeting.

“It is not a budget that provides for the proper police protection and services this town deserves,” Nally said. “We’re out of our bare bones, borderline dangerous, proposal developed under strict guidelines and parameters.”

Nally expressed dismay towards the cuts that have been made over the last few years claiming that the police department is understaffed and has restrictive budgets while facing increasing demands for services.

“I have told you that at some point police service would be affected but that time has arrived,” Nally said.

As the town continues to grow, the police department continues to shrink, seeing an increase in transient and full-time population, increase in commercial development, increase traffic condition, these factors and others combined with a reduction in the force contributes to increased traffic violations which are not addressed, injury accidents, less officer time for proactive law enforcement, Nally said.

Nally sited recent statistics to support his argument.

There have been five fatal accidents in two years, one of which occurred in 2011. There has been a 45 percent increase in violent crime, a 50 percent increase in robberies and aggravated assaults, and a 12 percent increase in reported thefts.

“We have an inability to combat the increase in drug related issues,” Nally said. “Proactive enforcement is at a minimum and most of them are done because we receive tips from citizens.”

The department also has developed an increase response time and the inability to address traffic complaints, to provide presence at school and community events, to assist civic and religious organizations, ant to investigate crimes in a timely manner, Nally said.

In addition to the increasing need for police response, the police department has 42 sworn officers and is currently operating with 37, Nally said. This is the lowest number the department has seen in a decade.

The police department is operating at 1.4 officers per 1,000 residents, which is below Ocean County’s and the national average, which range between 2 and 2.5 officers per 1,000 based on a population of 27,000.

To be proactive, the department should be operating with 54 officers, Nally said.

Nally refused to make layoffs unless ordered by the committee.

“I will not do that. I believe it’s unsafe. I believe we are at minimum manpower now for what we need to accomplish to reduce anything that’s going to in my opinion cause potential tragedies,” Nally said.

He explained that a median assessed home is about $3,018, costing a homeowner approximately $582 in tax. Of that, Nally claimed 30 percent. But if $500,000 was to be cut from the police departments budget, which is approximately four to five officers, a taxpayer would save $31.82 a year, Nally said.

“I’m here to tell you that further cuts to the police department will significantly affect our ability to serve the public. I’m here to tell you that any thoughts of layoffs will be done over my strong objection and should be interpreted as an indifference to the safety of the public,” Nally said.

Reducing overtime would jeopardize closing some cases, Committeeman Dave Most said. This would force Nally to reduce calls that detectives take, he said.

The department is also operating with six dispatchers three less then the schedule requires, forcing an increase in police officers having to staff the function, Nally said.

The cost budgeted for overtime for police officers has increased by 25 percent with the anticipation of doing more proactive drug work.

Nally mentioned the possibility of purchasing a more technologically advanced reporting system that involves residents e-mailing, a quick review, and an automatic upload into the records but that costs at least $25,000, he said.

“Just so you understand the pickle that we’re in as far as our jobs concerned. I understand your police side of it. You’re doing fantastic work with what you have. But we’re under a 2 percent cap here and that’s why we’re in the situation we’re in and you have to understand that,” Most said.

Mayor Gary Quinn added that although the 2 percent cap limits the township, public safety remains the key to the governing body and the community.

“I don’t think there’s a person on this committee that would not want to see 10 more police officers on the road. We’re all certainly aware of the fact that we need them,” Quinn said. “We would want to see it happen but in these economic times, we’ve been very fortunate as a township not to have to layoff any police officers.”

Nally recognized that all township departments are doing more with less but emphasized the importance of the public’s safety.

“You need to understand our priorities. You need to understand that our first responsibility is to the community,” Nally said.

Below are some of the points Nally made regarding the police departments proposed budget request:

  • The police salary and wages remained the same while the administration salaries and wages was reduced by $216,800.
  • Police overtime increased by $30,000, which Nally credits the reduction in staffing and on the job injuries (OJI).
  • Special Police and Clerical remains static.
  • Dispatcher salaries decreased by over $100,000 but overtime is up $40,000 due to three full-time vacancies.
  • The police operating expense is down 12 percent from 2010 and over 59 percent since 2008.
  • Communications is operating with a 33 percent reduction in force.

More details on the police department's proposed budget will be provided in the upcoming weeks. Check back at Lacey Patch for information on other township departments that presented their budget requests at Thursday's budget workshop meeting.

Jerry Harper April 02, 2011 at 12:21 PM
The average pay rate for the Lacy police department is the second highest in Ocean county at $101,430 as shown in a report by the Asbury Park Press data from 2009. Maybe a solution would be to lower pay rates and increase the number of officers.
wheres murrow? April 02, 2011 at 02:25 PM
simple economics, sorry just not enough money
Kristen Lee Marcus April 02, 2011 at 09:24 PM
You are all right, no one should make a living, don't pay anyone, let's all skip around like it's a communist state and we will all work really hard for a loaf of bread, have any of you dumb people realized 100,000 is barely middle class, this generation is more educated and works harder than our parents and financial security in our retirement is farther and farther out of reach, thanks all you baby boomers that sucked us dry
Ditzzeechick April 02, 2011 at 11:03 PM
Poor Kristen, I think you are in for a real world shock. 100K is barely middle class? Not certain what planet you're living on but I feel certain Mom & Dad overemphasized how special you "think" you are. In the mean time, the State should adopt county govt rule, consolidate all fire and police department, eliminate redundancies and eliminate the need for multiple chiefs. Shared services will allow fire houses and police stations to be closed and sold. Time to govern the state as a whole as opposed to 3000 little fiefdoms that have been running amuck.
Kristen Lee Marcus April 03, 2011 at 02:10 AM
yes ditz, I ammm soooo special, I was mollycoddled my whole life, I had it soooo easy, you must know my whole charmed life. 100,000 is barely middle class, have you not realized they are cutting out the middle class in this country. that income shoulders the biggest tax burden and gives the most in volunteering and charity work. I agree to consolidate some of the little towns would be best but not completely state run, that would be a bigger financial black whole. everyone likes to hate the police and fire, but without them quality of life would go down even quicker. Ditzy I am no kid and not much more can shock me baby I think you may be in some denial
Kristen Lee Marcus April 03, 2011 at 02:32 AM
smelled the burnt smoke smell on my father as he came home in the morning still dressed in his uniform blues after fighting a blaze of a three alarm fire in the "Worst" city in NJ and then getting changed to go to his part time construction job. Worrying about him after I heard he worked on one of the worst chemical fires in NJ. Seeing him in photos on the roof of a burning building hearing about the dead bodies pulled from burning cars or homes hearing how they stood on the roof of the firehouse and watched the towers fall and how helpless they felt....until this man who almost ready to retire did not hesitate to get over there and help hearing about the children in the neighborhood or the people he helped I am special.... he did make me feel special because I was his daughter...... why would you cut back one dime to public safety...the police and fire in every small town or big city is vital to quality of life and sleeping sound in your bed.
Kristen Lee Marcus April 03, 2011 at 02:35 AM
let's keep presenting it wrong, you people keep adding in all the bene and part time work ( that usually is paid private), let's keep inflaming
Kristen Lee Marcus April 03, 2011 at 11:16 PM
I agree Lacey is not those cities, and there is a reason they are not, and let's keep it that way. pay our police to keep it safe , if you are writing on the patch you must know crime is up, rx med abuse, domestics, dui's , shoplifting on the rise, not to mention at least two meth labs. We have at least doubled our township population (and that is just what we know about) in the last 20 years, with alot more to come with these new apt complexes, with low income included. Not to mention all the crazie Walmarters that come from far and wide to our town now ( I think they crawl out of some pine barren cave system) I think we need more and more police, I don't want to live in Paterson, Camden, or Elizabeth. These guys in lacey never know what they are going to be called to, sometimes the unpredictability of this so called quiet comm. is the most dangerous. I want the best surgeon operating on me, and I want the best police officers protecting me. I don't want the police officer responding to my call for help, thinking to himself "gee I am only getting paid $$much an hour , and if I get hurt I may not get treatment because they cut my benes, maybe I will just take it easy on this one", I want to pay this person as much as I can to protect me. All the other government make believe jobs, directors, commitee members, their cousin, assistant deputy vice liason to the king jobs have got to go
Kristen Lee Marcus April 03, 2011 at 11:18 PM
Policing and firefighting is a profession not a JOB
Kristen Lee Marcus April 03, 2011 at 11:19 PM
everyone wants safe communities and the best health care, it comes with a price
Kristen Lee Marcus April 03, 2011 at 11:20 PM
Pay the police and firefighters more!!!!!
Jerry Harper April 04, 2011 at 12:59 AM
If paying them more is the solution to our potential crime problem then we have a serious problem with out finest and bravest. The implication that is presented in the last few comments is that we can only get the services of the police and fire fighters by paying bribery fees. I do not believe that is needed as there are many qualified people that are desperately looking for work and willing to take the needed courses and training to fulfill these jobs. If you look at the actual distribution of pay that exists you will notice a wide dispersion between the bottom and top pay rates. There are plenty of towns that have unpaid firemen. I am not implying that the police services can be fulfilled that way but there is no need to bribe them to keep there jobs.
Jerry Harper April 04, 2011 at 12:29 PM
Re read my comments and you will note in my last sentence that I did not suggest "volunteer" police. I was referring to Kristen's comment "Pay the police and firefighters more!!!!!" as an untenable solution to the ongoing problem. It seems that the approach being suggested is to buy your protection not hire it. I still believe that we live in a competitive work environment and just as the auto industry has had to adjust to the times so must the police departments.
Realist April 04, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Unfortunately, times are tough and people will have to give back a little to help the economic situation in this town. However, the real problem that everyone is forgetting is that the town fathers over have not raised the "Municipal Tax Rate" appropriately over the years to meet the cost of inflation. The salaries in this town for Municipal workers are not the problem folks (for the ignorant, look at your tax bill). Your Municipal tax rate is .183 . Your County tax rate is .269 . Your School tax is .926. So.....educated people out there.......where is the problem. The numbers dont lie. Everyone keeps attacking the .183 for no other reason other than they just feel the municipal workers (more so Police & Fire) make too much money. The reality EVERYONE is that "THE MINICIPAL TAX RATE IS NOT THE PROBLEM IN THIS TOWN". If you cannot plainly see that, there is something wrong with you. Does anyone realize that to keep everything "status-quo" in this town (I am talking about not furloughing workers, keeping the same sevices from the police, fire and first aid, plowing of snow covered roadways, garbage & recycling collection, road improvements, the continued maintenence of our beautiful parks...ect) your "MUNICIPAL TAXES" would only have to go up, on average, of about $35 dollars. You cannot take your sweetie out to dinner at the Olive Garden for $35 dollars. Even the unemployed lose $35 dollars a year. So once again.....the Municipal tax rate is not the problem folks! WAKE UP!
Richard Skinner April 04, 2011 at 11:51 PM
Jerry, Thats a great Idea. I agree with you. The PD is the only dept in our town (other than board of education) not seeing any pay cuts.
Richard Skinner April 05, 2011 at 12:01 AM
I agree with everything but cutting the local Fire Departments. As a former firefighter in town myself I can safely say that you need 3 firehouses for sure as to their proximity to each area of town. You cannot have 1 station centrally located to town to have the firefighters respond to, get a rig then respond to the call and be there fast.. From Forked River to Bamber Lake on a good day could be a 20 min ride and from Lanoka to Bamber well over 3o min. I know for a fact that the people of lacey are getting a bargain relation to the Volunteer Emergency Services. Just think if they went paid and with the NFPA standards 2 in 2 out. We would have to staff 3 firehouses full time with 4 people per shift. That would amount to a TON of money that we do not have.
Richard Skinner April 05, 2011 at 12:09 AM
Oh I forgot to also remind everyone that the FD, Ambulance Services and Dive Team are all Volunteer! They used to get LOSAP and that was voluntarilly cut by the Emergency Services Organizations to help deter furloughs and or layoffs.
Frank April 05, 2011 at 12:16 AM
FD, Ambulance Services & Dive Team are STAND UP people - some of those guys should run for town council & school board. Obviously they're sensible & honest & they know how to run things right on a shoe string budget - they've got a lot to offer. The PD and school district should take notice - their greed is shameful.
Realist April 05, 2011 at 08:01 AM
Ahhhhh. The unions. They are the evil of this state and nation. They are the reason this nation and this state are in such financial crisis. Silly me! I actually believed that it was the limitless quantities of financial handouts that we steal from the WORKING middle class and give to the poor (SOME people do need help. I am not that heartless), the unemployed (Why should I get a job. I collect more on unemployment. Again, I am not heartless. Times are tough, but 3 years of unemployment...UGH!), disabled (Total abuse there) illegals (Giant problem. Endless free healthcare "Lets have more babies" & SS benefits that they receive & never paid into) and anyone else who has their hands out. Wow. I was so blind. I now see the light. It was the unions all along! Oh & just so you all know.......Unions set the MINIMUM standard wage to get paid for a paticular job. Otherwise the big bosses/owners of corporations and town fathers would be paying ALL employees $5 bucks an hour. Private and public sector.
GOD April 06, 2011 at 03:34 AM
GOD HELP THEM ALL
Kristen Lee Marcus April 07, 2011 at 12:28 AM
You only speak the truth
Kristen Lee Marcus April 07, 2011 at 12:30 AM
you did not actually speak it jerry but the implications were there. I can read. No mean spirit, just healthy debate
Kristen Lee Marcus April 07, 2011 at 12:30 AM
Thanks God and Yes we all will need Help
Jn W June 03, 2011 at 04:26 PM
Each day we have trained people coming out of Military and what about Other military police / The Military Police Corps is the uniformed law enforcement branch of the United States Army. Investigations are conducted by Military Police Investigators or the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC), both of which report to the Provost Marshal General. MPs are service members of the U.S. Army. Some U.S. MP units, usually at the division or brigade level, are designated as combat, division MPs whose combat zone responsibilities include protection of vehicle routes, defile control, route reconnaissance and straggler control, the guidance or detention of soldiers who have become lost, separated from their units, or have fled the battlefield. Since the beginning of the war on terror, military police have become a valuable asset to combat operations due to the versatility of the MOS. They have been used more in a combat arms role rather than their normal combat support role. The U.S Navy uses the terms Shore Patrol The United States Marine Corps also employs military police forces. Although typically associated with and attached to a Marine Corps Base Provost Marshal,
Jn W June 03, 2011 at 04:32 PM
I know that no service members Do not make that kind of pay /service members buy/ wash / press uniforms / Not the gov.
william anderson September 28, 2011 at 01:05 PM
How about the law enforcement in this town checking on gun owners.....there are people in this town that will invite MINORS into there home, entertain them and serve alcohol and leave them in their entertainment room. The killer here is they actually have a guns that are in a case that is NOT LOCKED and can get away with this!!! What the hell they have to be tipping off someone!!! One more fact I would like to mention is this happened in this town to a diabetic that could have DIED with a blood glucose reading off the charts which means COMA!!! I am sick over this and I just wanted to put it out there for parents with minors going to any residents home in Lanoka Harbor area. I would hate to see this happen again .... Now talk about a set-up for disaster!!!! I almost lost my son due to ignorant people who tell these minors they are a professional alcoholic .... what a perfect role model!!!!! Thank you

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