The ordinance creating a special police force of 50 class one special police officers was adopted by the city council on Tuesday evening. Council members are hoping the special officers will reduce some burden off the city’s regular police force.
Special police officers, class one as they are labeled in state law, will not have the ability to carry firearms, but they will have the ability to issue traffic tickets, enforce city ordinances, and serve as crossing guards.
“Hope is that this ordinance will help cut costs,” said Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman. Currently, during special events, parades, the city deploys regular police officers, increasing the cost of parades for taxpayers. With special officers, who will undergo 80 hours of training, who will have the ability to handle crowds, costs of parades can be brought under control.
Specials will be paid $12 to $15 per hour, according to the ordinance. Each officer will be appointed initially for four months, and thereafter reappointments will be for annual terms.
City officials are also hoping that the creation of special police force will reduce some of the burden off the city’s regular police force. As a result regular police officers will have more time to respond and investigate more serious problems in the city rather than being tied up in mundane traffic stops.
Domingo “Alex” Mendez, councilman at-large, previously stated the city’s regular police officers are often crossing school kids back and forth, when they should be handling much more serious issues in the city.
Sayegh believes the ordinance will allow city residents to embark on careers in public safety. “It could potentially create a path for Patersonians to pursue a career in law enforcement,” said Sayegh.