by Vincent Galgano
As a 16-year veteran of the force, I read with interest Councilman Cahill’s recent letter to the editor with regard to the current status of the Old Bridge police department. I also wonder where the councilman got his information.
All of us in the department know that currently there are fewer police officers on the job in Old Bridge and not more as the councilman continues to claim. We are working with four fewer police officers (as two retired this week) compared to when Mayor Owen Henry took office.
The mayor laid off 10-officers two months after taking office forcing all of us to cover shifts and costing taxpayers more money in overtime pay. Yes, it is true, in just the last two months, the mayor has hired six police officers. While I am certainly grateful that I along with the citizens of Old Bridge will be safer, I find the timing of this hiring suspicious to say the least. I mean the election is less then two months away.
There are other police issues about which the councilman is totally mistaken.
First, the councilman claims the administration has supplied us with new weapons and “state of the art equipment” when in fact we are still in a weapons exchange program and have not yet received any new weaponry.
As for the fleet of police vehicles I can tell you from first-hand experience that we continue to struggle with vehicles that are in an ongoing state of disrepair due to excessive mileage, wear and tear. Worse yet, some of the newer police trucks that were ordered by the current administration were not four-wheel drive making them unsafe to use in snow. Let’s not forget, the mayor immediately took a relatively new police car from our fleet, for himself when he took office. The police car I was driving at the time had 110,000 miles, his police car 12,000 miles.
As for the police communications system, we are still using old radios that break down quite frequently. There are areas of town, which I will not disclose due to safety reasons, where we have little to no radio reception. Rather concerning for the police department and citizens of the town.
Finally, the councilman says the township’s “multi-million dollar radio system upgrade will link police, fire and EMS across the township.” What he neglects to point out is that the current communications system already does that. So what he touts as new and innovative is not.
As a proud police officer I resent the councilman’s mistruths and his using the fine men and women of the Old Bridge police department to score political points in the current race for mayor and council. Shame on you Councilman Cahill.
The author, Vincent Galgano, is a police officer in Old Bridge
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