The Rochelle Park Police Department (RPPD) currently consists of 22 sworn and 7 non-sworn personnel and we operate on a $88,000 operating expense budget. In 2020, even with the pandemic shutdown there were close to 10,000 calls for service, ranging from medical aid calls, property crimes, domestic violence incidents, narcotics possession, to aggravated assaults and illegal weapons possession. (Check here for 2020 stats: https://rochelleparkpd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2020-Year-End-Report.pdf). RPPD runs its day-to-day 24/7 operations through its Patrol Operations. The Patrol Operation oversees four platoons (day and night), and it also staffs our Traffic Enforcement Division, and Community Relations programs, Records, Firearms Investigations. The Detective Bureau oversees the Criminal Investigations and assists patrol when needed and performs other functions like Megan’s law registrations, discovery production and is the liaison to the courts and prosecutor’s office.
Over the last several years, RPPD has become significantly more involved with the community by participating in programs that are based more on prevention, intervention, and diversion. I believe strongly that the police are active members of the community, and by engaging in a positive and proactive way they can help make the town a better place to live, work, and visit. We continue to look forward to more community based activities as we see things opening up more with vaccines, etc.
In recent years, a number of high-profile and controversial events around the country have underscored the need for and importance of meaningful and sustainable collaborative relationships between local police and the communities they serve. Of particular concern to me has to do with the care and wellness of our officers in a time of increased public scrutiny. Our officers are finding themselves under a growing public microscope, with demands for greater levels of accountability in the name of transparency. I believe that as technology improves and is more readily available, officers will eventually work under the assumption that their actions are being recorded on camera (whether by the public or their own department). As officers confront cumulative stress and trauma on a daily basis, their capacity for situational awareness can become suppressed. One of my biggest priorities in the near future is to address this recent evolution of policing in a way that provides our officers with the support and resources they may need to help manage these challenges. The need for modernizing the rules and regulations and the policies and procedures of the RPPD are as important as ever in this time of scrutiny. As a former resiliency officer, I have learned firsthand that proper training and providing resources to officers on dealing with the challenges and stress of the work they do will lead to a healthier environment and a higher level of service for our “customers”.