State of the Borough: Public Safety
Commissioner Ed Borden's address at the 40th Annual Mayor's Breakfast on Saturday.
Haddonfield Commissioner Ed Borden, director of public safety, State of the Borough report. Delivered Saturday, January 21, 2012 at the 40th Annual Mayor's Breakfast at First Presbyterian Church:
Please let me begin by thanking the Lions Club for hosting us today. The Mayor’s Breakfast is a wonderful tradition and a wonderful opportunity for our community to come together to honor one of our most dedicated citizens.
When we met last year, I spoke to you about the stupidity of the one-size-fits-all 2-percent cap law. I said that the cap would likely result in Haddonfield and its neighbors cutting basic services, and that our customers, the taxpayers, would feel the pain.
Sadly, my predictions were borne out, particularly in the area of public safety. In Haddonfield and the surrounding area, 2011 saw a substantial increase in residential burglaries and a rash in thefts of copper gutters and downspouts. It really is this simple: if you layoff half of the Camden police force and dozens of officers in police departments throughout the county, there will be more victims of crime, in Haddonfield and elsewhere. We do not live on an island in the middle of the ocean.
Chief Banning and I and all of the members of the department are focused on addressing these troubling burglaries. The department is dedicating all available resources to increased patrols, particularly at the times and in the areas of town where we are experiencing the majority of break-ins.
As I serve on the planning board and as my department includes the community development office, I would like to give you a brief update on the Bancroft redevelopment effort. We expected to have a final redevelopment plan in place by now, but believed it wise to delay a bit when the Board of Education came forward some months ago with some conceptual proposals. As we speak, we are scheduling a joint meeting of the two bodies to hear more detail about the school district’s ideas. The commissioners are committed to working cooperatively with the board in this effort.
Let me close with very warm thanks to our volunteers, particularly our public safety volunteers. The fire company responded to 486 fire emergency calls in 2011, up from 445 in 2010. The membership ranks of the fire department remain strong with 41 active volunteer firefighters. Our auxiliary police were similarly engaged, logging 1351 volunteer hours in 2011. Our town would be an entirely different place without the dedicated and professional service of all of these dedicated men and women.