Commissioner Ed Borden, director of public safety, state of the borough address delivered at the Mayor's Breakfast in January:
The Police Department’s No.1 priority this year was the rash of residential burglaries. The department devoted substantial resources to the task, including having the Chief and the two Lieutenants personally out patrolling at the times of most concern. Based upon the similarities in many of the fact patterns, the department believed that most of the burglaries were being committed by a limited number of individuals. I am happy to say that, working closely with detectives in other departments in the area, several arrests were made in late fall, and confessions obtained. The very preliminary data suggests that this MAY have had an effect. The good news – and it is certainly far too early to say that this is a trend – is that burglaries were substantially down in December and thus far in January. Let us hope this continues.
We are in the midst of the budget process, and I am pleased to tell you that I believe that there will again be no increase, and perhaps even a slight decrease, in the 2013 budget of the Department of Public Safety. This is principally a result of three things: the favorable terms in the contract we negotiated with the PBA in 2010, several retirements during the year which allowed us to replace the retirees with lower salaried new officers, and a decrease in anticipated Borough-wide legal expenses, which all fall in my department’s budget.
The retirements opened two positions in the department, and we are nearing the end of the hiring process for replacements, in which we had some 200 applicants. If the budget allows, we hope to fill both positions with new officers by early March.
During the year, I had the opportunity to make a promotion to Lieutenant, the second highest rank in the police department, as a result of the retirement of Gary Pearce. As I did with the choice of John Banning as Chief and with other promotions, I was able to call upon a volunteer committee of law enforcement professionals to advise me in making that decision. These six individuals, all veterans of local, county, state and federal law enforcement, have been invaluable. Some served with me in the Prosecutor’s Office and some previously served in our own department. I thank them very much for their service, and I am certain our department’s leadership is stronger for their efforts. Following a thorough application and interview process, Ed Wiley, a department veteran who many of you know, was chosen and Ed has already proved to be an invaluable addition.
Let me close with very warm thanks to all of our volunteers, and particularly our public safety volunteers. The fire company responded to 466 fire emergency calls in 2011, down from 486 in 2011. The membership ranks of the fire department remain strong with 40 active volunteer firefighters, including four new young volunteers who joined the department in 2012. Our auxiliary police were similarly engaged, logging over 1300 volunteer hours in 2012.
One of the perks of my job as the Commissioner in charge of Public Safety is that I am asked to swear in the members of the Fire Company and the Auxiliary Police at the beginning of each year, usually within a day or two of each other. It gives Tish, Jeff and I the opportunity to thank these dedicated folks for their service on behalf of all of our citizens. This year, I pointed out to them and their families that Hurricane Sandy really brought it into focus for me. As I was out around town that night, I encountered our volunteer auxiliary police, our volunteer firefighters, and our volunteer emergency management coordinator. And I noted that each of them left their own home and family at a time of no small peril, to serve alongside our dedicated police and public works personnel, to keep us safe.
So I hope you will join with me in thanking them and all of our dedicated volunteers for making Haddonfield the extraordinary place it is.