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Bergen Officials Battle over New Regional SWAT Team

County Executive Kathleen Donovan argues the new 45-member squad duplicates work done by the Bergen County SWAT team, report says.

Bergen County law enforcement officials have activated a new regional SWAT team despite objections from County Executive Kathleen Donovan, NorthJersey.com reported. 

According to the report, Donovan has said the regional team is unnecessary and duplicates work carried out by the Bergen County Police SWAT team.

For the time being when a hostage or shooting situation occurs, local police chiefs will be able to choose between calling the 45-member regional team or the 20-member County Police team, the report said.  Bergen County Prosecutor Don Molinelli put together the regional SWAT team using officers from his office, the sheriff's office, and 17 municipal police departments, the report says.

So far, the group has not been called to respond to any incidents, the report said. According to NorthJersey.com, the dispute between Donovan and Molinelli has led to a battle of legal opinion over liability surrounding the regional SWAT team

According to the report, the Executive Director of the Bergen County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund has sided with Molinelli, while the Bergen County Police Chief Association attorney backed Donovan's opinion.

Donovan's critics have said that this debate over the regional SWAT team is just the latest in the battle over the future of the Bergen County Police Departments, the report said.  Last year the Bergen County Freeholders voted to consolidate the police department and the sheriffs department into one agency.  Donovan is currently battling that decision in court.

Pete Malvasi February 19, 2014 at 06:46 AM
Another case of career politicians having a food fight with our money. County government is a total waste. A place for entry level of corruption on their way to much bigger spoils.
YouMoron February 19, 2014 at 07:14 AM
It's time to DUMP DONOVAN and her orthodontic-challenged chief of staff!
Bruce Albert February 19, 2014 at 08:24 AM
That's what we need, more jack booted thugs hanging around waiting to be nationalized by homeland security, when you work with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When a gunman entered the Plaza, five hundred police officers responded with a cornucopia of weapons including the Bergen County SWAT Team. KISS keep it simple stupid
jp1 February 19, 2014 at 08:30 AM
This is why our taxes continue to increase, sheer stupidity by our so called leaders.Why do we need two swat teams?
Pete Malvasi February 19, 2014 at 08:43 AM
Don't kid yourselves. This has nothing to do with public safety or security. It's all about the political bullshit and money.
Hank February 19, 2014 at 09:48 AM
I wonder if they could put together a super pothole team as well.
Jules Vernon February 19, 2014 at 09:53 AM
Hank - great idea. they could be dubbed the "swathole" team
BellairBerdan February 19, 2014 at 09:53 AM
The problem when these "reformers" like Christie and Donovan get into office is that they clean house, then put their own unqualified overpaid political contributors in their place, then on top of that create more layers of useless and expensive bureaucracy to employ the rest of their friends. The key to their success is to convince you it's all the fault of the schmoe making $40K a year and looking forward to a pension in 35 years.
Andy Schmidt February 19, 2014 at 10:17 AM
Can't believe I'm saying this - but HERE is something that Christie could sink his teeth into. Rather than going after school funds/reserves - cut county management in half. Restrict the Prosecutor to matters related directly to pursuing criminal complaints in court, merge sheriff and police - I don't care which one "wins", get rid of all appointed under-sheriffs and then scan the entire county government for any other appointees and cut them all in half - let regular employed stuff do actual work instead of political cronies collecting money, combine the two competing county executive offices into one and fire half of the combined executive staff. Cutting from the top will free up a HUGE percentage of the county budget to pay the REAL working staff and departments that actually provide NECESSARY services to the tax payers and towns, fix/maintain infrastructure, etc.
FL4LIFE February 19, 2014 at 10:46 AM
the comical thing about "conservatives" like christie and especially tea party leaders like paul and cruz, is they blast people over entitlements while receiving higher cost benefits and pension (entitlements) than anyone. they are the definition of hypocrites.
KMA February 19, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Remember it is Donovan that is causing the issues here, No One else. She needs to let go of the Bergen County Police and save us all money. The constant lawsuits have got to stop on both sides!
PeterB February 19, 2014 at 02:13 PM
I am not a Donovan fan, however, I think the one who is causing the problem is the prosecutors office. He needs to handle what happens in the court room and not dictate what happens outside. It seems the prosecutor in this case is the one spending to put together a 45 man SWAT team. Are the 20 officers in place already not enough?
Hank February 19, 2014 at 06:06 PM
Jules you are a genius!

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