City officials have given preliminary approval to a proposal by mayor Jose “Joey” Torres to create a 50 person special police force consisting of city residents.
The officers will have the authority to issue summonses for disorderly conduct like loud music, public intoxication, and other local ordinances. Specials will also have the ability to issue traffic tickets, according to the ordinance.
Specials, who will be paid $12 to $15 per hour, will not be allowed to carry or use firearms.
“I do have some questions, some of my concerns are about the pay,” said Ruby Cotton, 4th Ward councilwoman, seeing the paltry hourly rate.
Council members are hoping the additional 50 special officers will reduce some burden off the shoulders of the city’s police force. Specials will be able to respond to quality of life calls, calls that often take away from the regular police force’s response time to more serious calls of shooting, rape, and aggravated assault.
Domingo “Alex” Mendez, councilman at-large, believes specials will free up regular police officers from manning dangerous road crossings to secure the safety of school children to and from school.
“This ordinance is truly needed,” said Mendez. “This will help us alleviate the problem of crossing guards.”
Members of the governing body gave unanimous consent for the ordinance during its first reading last Tuesday.
Specials are required to receive 80 hours of Class One special Law Enforcement Academy course with the New Jersey Police Training Commission to obtain state certificates. Each officer will be appointed initially for four months, and thereafter reappointments will be for annual terms.