County Police Merger is 'Nonsense,' Ex-Officials Say

Former Bergen County prosecutor, executive, sheriff and police chief argue that merging the county police and sheriff's offices may actually cost taxpayers more

Three former Bergen County officials threw their support behind the Bergen County Police Department in an ongoing debate about whether or not the department should be merged with the Sheriff’s Department.

Former Bergen County Executive William “Pat” Schuber, former County Prosecutor Jay Fahy, and Joel Trella, who served both as the county Sheriff and the BCPD Chief, held a press conference at the Bergen County Law and Public Safety Institute in Mahwah Tuesday afternoon to argue against a proposed ordinance that would disband the BCPD and incorporate some of its functions into the Sheriff’s Department.

The three argued against points that have been presented by supporters of the merger — namely that it would be a cost savings to the county and that the services provided by the county’s police force are redundant or unnecessary.

Schuber and Fahy cited the consolidated police departments in Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island as an example of mergers resulting in increased costs for taxpayers. Schuber also said he saw no evidence of guaranteed cost savings in plans to merge the two departments.

Fahy spoke against having a publicly elected official, the county sheriff, lead Bergen’s law enforcement agency.

Residents are “lucky,” he said, that current Sheriff Michael Saudino has a law enforcement background, but he said that may not be the case with future sheriffs elected to the post.

Having an elected official who could potentially be influenced by “political battles” when making decisions would be a “slippery slope,” he said.

The three said that specialized services provided by the BCPD, like the bomb squad, hostage negotiators, and other units, are not redundant.

“That’s nonsense,” Trella said of the idea that the department provides services that can be provided by another agency in the county. The BCPD “mimic what county government is supposed to do … provide services that are too expensive and too intermittent to be provided locally,” he said, calling the “regional services” provided by the BCPD the “best bang for the [taxpayer’s] buck.”

The former sheriff also commented on the often-cited statistic that of 21 counties in New Jersey, only 2 have county police departments. He said that based on the original ordinance allowing for the creation of county police departments, only four counties in the state were eligible to have them. The makeup of Bergen makes the department “necessary,” he said.

“With over 70 [suburban] municipalities and no major cities,” Trella said, there is no other agency in Bergen poised to take over the role of the BCPD.

Two reports on the county police department, the Guidepost Report and the Creamer Report, sparked the debate on whether or not the county police should be dissolved and merged with the Sheriff’s Department. The Guidepost Report recommended the county police be downsized or eliminated, while the Creamer Report opposed a merger of the two departments.

The county freeholders voted in August 4-2 to give voters a chance to weigh in on the police merger and passed an ordinance to dissolve the 89-member department. A judge later blocked the public vote, but the freeholders are expected to take up a second-reading of the ordinance dissolving the department at an Oct. 3 meeting. 

The possibility of dissolving the department has been brought up before, but has never come to fruition.  

Richard Zuendt September 26, 2012 at 10:07 PM
And Average Joe, one of the "brave" Keystone Kops who loves to hide behind stupid monikers can't even read the budget for 2012. Well here it is: http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/departments/CountyBudget2012.pdf Now once you get by the salaries themselves, start adding in accumlated vacation days, pensions and other "benefits" that the Keystone accumulate. But just so the Keystone Kop can understand it clearly, take a look at page 121 of the study that was done on shutting the whole damn department down. http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/bcresources/PDFs/Bergen%20Report%20Final%2005%2013%2011.pdf CASE CLOSED!
Average Joe September 26, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Rich is not brave, he hid at North Carolina State from 1970 to 1974. He is just a extremem right winger who hides behind his blogs and distorts the truth.
Average Joe September 26, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Just so you are aware Richie, the study outcome was changed. It was said at the Freeholder meetings and by Guidepost. In fact, the freeholders referred to it as a piece of garbage. I wonder what they are hiding.
Average Joe September 26, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Rich is not brave, he hid at North Carolina State from 1970 to 1974. He just wants you to look at his extreme right wing blogs.
Average Joe September 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Please refer to the link you have provided and look at sheet 16 (page 34 of 68). Look under the division of police (aka BCPD) the budget is $14.2 million, NOT $20 million. Once again you are a source of unreliable information. It is impossible to save $20 million unless you shut down the ENTIRE Department of public safety (medical examiners, oem, haz mat,...) I might have a stupid moniker but I can read just fine. Please keep your right wing extremist views and distortions of the truth to a minimum.
Richard Zuendt September 26, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Average Joe hides behind a stupid moniker and which shows how brave he is. And what does he mean "hide" at North Carolina State? Would he care to explain? But in order to cut him short, I had a tumour in my heel bone and had to have it removed. When you don't have a complete heel bone, the military does not want you, even when you try to enlist. As far as the consultant report, the one that Average Joe Keystone Kop now refers to is the one that Kathy Donovan had done by her cronies, including Freeholder DiNicola. So who should we believe, an independent consulting company that reviewed all aspects of the Keystone Kops department and returned a report that is over 120 pages long and can be read at the link provided, or a committee report, prepared by Donovan stooges and is not available for review? Think about it.
Richard Zuendt September 26, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Hey Average Joe. It is obvious that you are one of the Keystone Kops since you are a dumb as a brick. The reference you cite is salary only. How about including retirement benefits, health benefits, accumulated sick and vacation days that the police, unlike everyone else in the workforce, are allowed to be paid for at the highest salary level when they retire. Also, how about operational expenses, capitial expenses, and support expenses? Oh, that's right, you don't understand anything about running a business or anything else.
Average Joe September 26, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Wrong information again Richie, On July 11, 2011 - The members of Guidepost (the $623,000 study) stated in a public forum that there were revisions made to the "independant" study. This was at a Freeholder work session in a public forum. Several freeholders then went back and forth about the study's reliability. Please look it up for yourself to find the truth, but I am warning you that you might find the information to be inconvienant to your right wing extremist views.
Richard Zuendt September 26, 2012 at 11:09 PM
And Average Joe, since we know that you don't have a clue about running anything, except your mouth, take a look at page 78 of the study. This is how much was spent in 2010 on the Bergen County Keystone Kops: $21,977,659 CASE CLOSED!
Richard Zuendt September 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Hey Average "Keystone Kop" Joe, why don't you tell everyone that the freeholders who called "questioned" the study were Hermansen and DiNicola, the two Donovan stooges. Once again, you lose.
Walter Weglein September 27, 2012 at 12:21 AM
MJM: never had a problem with them...obviously you did...
Richard Zuendt September 27, 2012 at 12:28 AM
And you are nothing but an overpaid, underworked donut eater Average "Keystone Kop" Joe.
Average Joe September 27, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Richie, Point of correction, AGAIN. It was Freeholder Ganz who questioned the integrity of the guidepost study, it was then Driscoll. Ganz said it was a piece of garbage that belonged in the trash (his words, not mine). Hermansen questioned it at another date. I know the truth is bothersome but find out for yourself, you won't be such an angry person. What you should be questioning is WHAT changes were made and Why changes were made. Maybe they are trying to hide the fact that the County Police is an efficient operating system. I know why you dislike Hermansen, it is becuase he want an honest goverment and you just want to follow your political boss like a sheep. Just keep following blindly and spewing your extreme right wing views. xoxo, Average Joe
Richard Zuendt September 27, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Hey Average "Coward Keystone Kop" Joe. Wrong once again. Donovan pushed all of the buttons on that Freeholder meeting. She then went out, formed her own "Review Committee" and proceeded to sue the Freeholders. Ganz voted to DISSOLVE the Bergen County Keystone Kops. http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2012/08/bergen_county_freeholders_vote_to_dissolve_the_county_police_inviting_political_legal_challenges.html Once again you are WRONG! And we the taxpayers of Bergen County are getting raped paying your salary. And what do we get for it? A coward how hides behind a stupid moniker and a fool.
Gabriel Francis September 27, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Dump Mitchell, Saudino, yudin and felice and we will be on our way to rooting out the corruption. Then move corrections to dept of public safety, privatize process servers and leave the sheriff people to secure the courthouse. Enough political power plays by corrupt pols and party bosses.
Gabriel Francis September 27, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I imagine Rich Zuendt got busted in a county park for lewdness which caused his wife to leave him and his life to fall apart, so now he's angy. Angry at the lowly keystone cop who had the privilege of catching dick with his pants down. Lol
Richard Zuendt September 27, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Gee Gabriel what brillant comment are you going to have next? Are you going to talk about "poop" or "doody". By the way, my wife and I have been married for 32 years. And the last time I heard, your wife was looking for any type of dick. She keeps mentioning the word "wee-wee" in reference to your equipment.
Gabriel Francis September 27, 2012 at 02:40 AM
If John Mitchell were under the influence of truth serum, I would ask him how it feels to be bob "holy eye brows" yudin's puppet. Or is t muppet? Which one does the master control by inserting his hand inside the character?
Gabriel Francis September 27, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Weak comeback Richard!! You gotta do better than that!! That's amateur junior high school stuff. It must be true!! Lol. Seriously though Are you registered as a tier 1, 2 or 3 Megan's law offender??
Richard Zuendt September 27, 2012 at 03:03 AM
You had the weak comeback Gabriel, but then that is exactly what one would expect from a person who has a public school playground mentality. When you grow up, come back and play with the big boys.
Gabriel Francis September 27, 2012 at 03:25 AM
No wonder dick won't post under his real name. If his parole officer finds out he's posting about genitalia and public school playgrounds, he'd be headed back to the slammer again!! Would one of you keystone kops please subpoena the ISP to find out who this creep is?? How's about you average joe? Take that donut out of your mouth!!
Gabriel Francis September 27, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I'm signing off, dick is no match for my superior intellect!!
Savenetwork September 27, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Even the Chinese are saving where they can. Has anyone seen that weird thing they call an aircraft carrier. To me, nothing has been more telling about the real Chinese economy than that old ship they converted into an aircraft carrier. Holy molly!
Richard Zuendt September 27, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Debating with you Gab is liking dueling with an unarmed man. As far as superior intellect, the only things you are intellectually superior to are inanimate objects.
Rick September 27, 2012 at 04:13 PM
This is why they are all "ex-officials"
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