A Message from the Chief Regarding School Security
First, on behalf of the officers and staff of the Fairfield Police Department, I would like to express our deepest sympathy to those who lost love ones during the tragic events in Newtown Conneticut. Our hearts and prayers are with all of you including the first responders who performed their jobs so professionally under the most difficult of conditions. May God watch over all of you.
Secondly, the Fairfield Police Department enjoys a tremendous working relationship with the administrations of all the schools located in Fairfield, as well as with the West Essex Regional School District. In the past, together we have developed comprehensive security plans to help keep our children safe. We have conducted active shooter drills for our officers and have participated with school staff during their evacuation and lockdown drills. For well over ten years, Fairfield officers have been mandated to conduct school zone checks at all our schools, including the high school, each day when the school is in session. Still, we are always looking to assure our emergency preparedness is the best it can be and strive to do even more. So as details of the incident in Connecticut emerge, we will assess out strategies and make sure they are the best they can be.
Lastly, as a way of bringing some stability and comfort to the students, their parents and school staff, I have directed a greater police presence at all schools in Fairfield during this final week leading into the winter recess. Please do not be alarmed by this. It is not in response to any threat but rather as a means to help ease the concerns of all while we deal with this horrific national tragedy.
Child Luring Case in Fairfield is a Rumor
On October 5, 2012, the Fairfield Police Department investigated a report of a suspicious incident inviolving a van located at the Churchill School. (For additional information, see the Police Blotter for the week of October 1-7, 2012. Some unknown individual(s) purported that this incident involved an attempted case of child luring. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE. The Fairfield Police Department is quite aware of the recent cases in Bergen County and are putting this message out to the community to set the record straight.
Black Bear and Cubs Spotted Throughout Fairfield
Over the past week or so, there have been a number of sightings, throughout the Township, of a black bear with three cubs. It has been spotted near Bryn Mawr Way, near the Fairfield/West Caldwell and Fairfield/Lincoln Park town borders and as recently as September 25th near Pier Lane. The Fairfield Police Department is advising residents concerning these sightings so that specific precautions can be taken. In most cases a black bear, if not cornered, will be wary of people. However, in this case, the black bear is with her cubs, which presents the need for residents to have a heightened level of awareness.
If you encounter a black bear in your neighborhood or outdoors while hiking or camping, follow these common-sense safety tips.
- Never feed or approach a bear
- Remain calm if you encounter a bear
- Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises.
- Make sure the bear has an escape route.
- If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping all doors open
- Avoid direct eye contact and never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away
- To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an air horn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head
- The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and do not run
- If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior
- Black bears will sometimes "bluff charge" when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run
- If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area
- Report black bear damage or nuisance behavior to the DEP's 24-hour, toll-free hotline at 1-877-WARN DEP (1-877-927-6337)
- Families who live in areas frequented by black bears should have a "Bear Plan" in place for children, with an escape route and planned use of whistles and air horns
- Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back!
While it is perfectly appropriate for residents seeing these bears to notify the police department, it should be understood that the police department response to such incidents are limited unless the black bear becomes a nuisance or an immediate threat to human life. Individuals wishing to obtain more information about black bears in New Jersey are encouraged to go to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Agency’s website at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts.htm
FILE PHOTO OF BLACK BEAR
Move Over or Get Pulled Over
The Fairfield Police Department has begun an aggressive campaign to educate motorists concerning the recently enacted New Jersey law requiring motorists to move over into a different lane, when possible, when they observe emergency personnel conducting operations on the side of the roadway such as a police officer on a traffic stop.
According to statistics accumulated by the F.B.I. relative to officers killed on duty, in 2010 there were 72 police officers who died accidentally in the line of duty with 63 of those incidents involving an officer on a public roadway or highway. Forty-five officers perished in automobile accidents, eleven officers were struck by vehicles while on or about the roadway and seven officers died as a result of motorcycle accidents.
Fairfield officers have been conducting details along Route 46 and are currently providing motorist with the flyer that appears above as an advisory/warning. In some cases, officers have written summonses for secondary violations that have been observed. This educational campaign was the idea of Sergeant Paul Bowden, the officer in charge of the department’s traffic safety bureau. “I believe that many motorists are unaware of this new law and that it’s important to try and educate as many people as is possible to achieve compliance” said Sergeant Bowden. The educational campaign is planned to last throughout the month of September before Fairfield police begin to ticket motorists in earnest. However, issuing summonses to motorists still remains a completely discretionary decision of each individual officer.
The procedure for motorists approaching stationary authorized emergency vehicles, tow trucks, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicles under New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2 is as follows:
1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:
(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or
(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
b. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light or a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:
(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck or highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or
(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
c. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.
Fairfield police remind motorists that the entire length of Route 46 in Fairfield is designated as a safe corridor and that traffic fines are doubled because of it.
Former Special Police Officer Anthony Mendola Passes Away at 80
Chief Charles Voelker regrettably and sadly announces the passing of former Fairfield Special Police Officer Anthony Mendola. Mr. Mendola was 80 years old when he passed away at home on Saturday, July 28, 2012. He was born in Newark, N.J., and resided in Fairfield. Along with his service to the police department, he also served the Township of Fairfield as a Municipal Court Officer and Emergency Management Coordinator. Prior to this service, he was a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Korean War. He was an avid motorcyclist and belonged to many clubs, including the Blue Nights, where he served as Chapter 7 president for a number of years.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral at 9 a.m. from the Ippolito-Stellato Funeral Home, 7 Two Bridges Rd., Fairfield, N.J. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Thomas More R.C. Church at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Interment to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. Send condolences to stellatofuneralhomes.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital , 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, Tenn. 38105, or st.jude.org, in memory of Anthony Mendola.
Fairfield Police Receive Click It or Ticket Grant
The Fairfield Police Department has received a $4000.00 enforcement grant to particicipate in the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign, which will run from May 21 until June 3, 2012. The program is designed to bring greater awareness to motorists and their passengers about the importance of wearing seatbelts. During this time period, extra officers will be added to specific shifts for the purpose of seeking out those who are not in compliance with the state law requiring occupants of vehicles to be wearing their seatbelts, and issuing summonses.
Remember- "Seatbelts save lives"
Fairfield Police Collect 45 Pounds of Unwanted Prescription Drugs
On April 28, 2012, the Fairfield Police Department participated in Operation Take Back, a program sponsored by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration whereby citizens are encouraged to turn in unwanted or expired prescription drugs to local police departments for later destruction.
The Fairfield Police Department collected approximately 45 pounds of these items, which is more then they have ever collected in the past. These items will be turned over to the DEA for destruction. The Fairfield Police Department would like to thank all those who participated in the program and for making it a huge success.
INCREASED WEEKEND DRUNK DRIVING PATROLS BEGIN THIS EVENING
Starting this evening, Friday March 16, 2012 and continuing throughout the course of the St. Patrick's Day weekend, additional patrols have been added to specifically target drunk driving enforcement. These special patrols are made possible by money provided in the state's Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund. The members of the Fairfield Police Department wish all a happy and safe St. Patrick's Day and encourage anyone consuming alcoholic beverages to do so responsibly and to use a designateed driver.
Officer Robert Sanger Receives Gold Detective Shield
On February 21, 2012 Chief Charles Voelker re-assigned Officer Robert Sanger to the Investigative Division to fill the void created when Detective Paul Marinaccio left the department, taking a position with the Union County Prosecutor's Office. Detective Sanger joined the Fairfield Police Department in 2000 after having been a police officer with the North Bergen Police Department for six years. He was initially assigned to the uniformed division. While in that assignment, he served as an Emergency Medical Technician, child passenger seat safety technician, a field training officer, a member of the department’s honor guard, a member of the community services unit and a recruit instructor at the Essex County Police Academyi n patrol tactics and motor vehicle stops.
He became the department’s accreditation manager in 2005 and was instrumental in helping Fairfield to become the first police department in Essex County to receive accreditation. He also assists the New Jersey Public Safety Accreditation Coalition (NJPSAC) in conducting on-site “mock” assessments of agencies pursuing accreditation.
In giving Detective Sanger his gold shield, Chief Voelker stated, “I have all the confidence in the world that Rob will do the same outstanding job in his new assignment that he did with the accreditation process.” The chief went on to state further that “It was a difficult decision to re-assign Officer Sanger to the Investigative Division, given our current reduced staffing, but I had to assure that the Investigative Division had sufficient personnel so that criminal and licensing investigations could continued to be conducted in earnest.” Detective Sanger will be assigned to conduct general and licensing investigations.
FAIRFIELD OFFICERS WILL PARTICIPATE IN NEW JERSEY DAY OF REMEMBERENCE FOR FAMILIES WHO LOST LOVED ONES TO IMPAIRED DRIVERS
Officers from the Fairfield Police Department will be participating in New Jersey Remembers, a solemn ceremony honoring all those who have lost their lives to the actions of impaired drivers. The ceremony is to take place on April 24, 2012 at 11 A.M. at the War Memorial Building in Trenton, N.J. Officers Christopher Nicholas and R.J. Casendino, led the Fairfield Police Department in DWI enforcement in 2011 with a combined 28 arrests. Overall, the Fairfield Police Department arrested a total of 73 individuals for allegedly operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Anyone who has lost a loved one as a result of an impaired driver, wants to participate in the ceremony or is seeking additional information can go to http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases12/pr20120222a.html for more information.
Fairfield Police Officers Receive Commendations
Nine Fairfield police officers were cited for their excellent work during events that occurred between June-December 2011. The awards ceremony took place at the January 23, 2012 meeting of the Mayor and Council where Chief Charles Voelker presented the officers with commendation ribbons that ranged from life saving to making criminal apprehensions. Officer Alex Cifelli received the Legion of Honor ribbon, which is awarded to an officer who is permanently injured in the line of duty and preventing the officer from active service for a minimum of three months or longer. Listed below are the officers who received commendations and a brief synopsis as to why:
P.O. Alex Cifelli
(Legion of Honor)
P.O. Christopher Nicholas, P.O. Brian Sabatelli
On June 19, 2011, at approximately 04:00 A.M., Skyline security contacted the Fairfield police reporting that there were multiple individuals on the property attempting to steal at least six vehicles. As responding officers arrived, a stolen Ford F-350 pick up truck crashed through the front gate and then intentionally rammed Officer Cifelli’s patrol car, allowing five stolen cars to exit the auction and head west on Route 46. At this time, the driver of the stolen pick up truck fled on foot into an adjacent wooded area. Officer Cifelli, who was in severe pain, had a contusion over his left eye from having hit the windshield and who was experiencing blurred vision, gave chase along with Officers Nicholas and Sabatelli. They eventually apprehended the suspect. A total of four other suspects were apprehended in other jurisdictions and five vehicles recovered. Unfortunately, the injuries received by Officer Cifelli that morning were career-ending
P.O.Stacy Chiarolanza (Criminal Apprehension Ribbon)
In early August, P.O. Chiarolanza received information regarding suspicious activity occurring at a Little Falls Rd. residence involving a large volume of cars coming and going. Officer Chiarolanza conducted extensive internet computer work which resulted in her discovering that an illegal massage business was being operated at the location. Officer Chiarolanza also conducted surveillance of the residence resulting in additional information being obtained indicating prostitution was also taking place at the residence. One individual was arrested and the quality of life restored to the neighborhood.
P.O. Frank Tracey
(Criminal Apprehension Ribbon)
P.O. Stacy Chiarolanza
In September 2011, P.O. Tracey was involved in taking a report of a theft by deception involving money given to an individual at Skyline Auto Auction for the purchase of a vehicle for which the victim never received the vehicle. P.O. Chiarolanza and P.O. Tracey conducted an extensive investigation beyond their normal duties in order to both identify the suspect and to later make an apprehension.
P.O. Thomas Myers
(Criminal Apprehension Ribbon)
On September 29, 2011, theLincoln Parkpolice broadcast to surrounding police agencies that a white Ford Focus had been stolen in their jurisdiction. At approximately 02:40 A.M., P.O. Myers observed this vehicle traveling on Route 46. Subsequently, he received activation on his police cruiser’s Lo-Jack detector that a stolen vehicle was in the area. He eventually stopped this vehicle and apprehended two suspects. Found in the vehicle were items stolen from a vehicle on Redwood Drive in Fairfield.
P.O. Ian Rasmussen, P.O. R.J. Casendino, P.O. Thomas Myers
On November 11, 2011 at approximately 0130 hours, the officers responded to a Lebeda Drive Westresidence for an unconscious 71 year old male. Arriving officers found the victim to be in both cardiac and respiratory arrest. The officers began administering CPR and eventually shocked the victim twice with their AED. The victim regained a strong pulse and began to breathe on his own. The victim survived for over a month but unfortunately passed away.
P.O. Christopher Hlubik
(Criminal Apprehension Ribbon)
On November 12, 2011, Officer Hlubik was on patrol near the Township’s leaf dump on Marginal Road as this area has been frequented by juveniles involved in illegal activities as well as others hunting illegally. Officer Hlubik came upon an individual who was stripping the rubber coating off of copper wire, as well as being in possession of other items that appeared suspicious to the officer. He noted these items and made all possible inquiries but found nothing. On November 14, 2011, a burglary at CBS Outdoor located at 185 Route 46 was reported to the Fairfield police in which copper wire and other items were taken. As a result of Officer Hlubik’s observations, one individual was arrested.
Sergeant Louis Cammarata Promoted to Lieutenant
At the January 23, 2012 meeting of the Fairfield Mayor and Council, Sergeant Louis Cammarata was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Lieuenant Cammarata was apponted to the Fairfield Police Department on January 4, 1988. His next promotion was to the rank of corporal on September 22, 1997 followed by a promotion to the rank of sergeant on August 23, 1999. Noteworthy amongst his many law enforcement accomplishments is that he served as the officer in charge of the Community Services Unit, was a D.A.R.E. officer, and is a member of the department's honor guard. He currently serves as the Investigative Division commander and is expected to continue in that position.
Retired Chief George "Don" Milne Dies at Age 82
Retired Fairfield Chief of Police George “Don” Milne died on Thursday December 29, 2011. Chief Milne joined the Fairfield Police Department in 1956. He rose to the rank of chief in 1980. He retired in 1988. He was a member of West Essex PBA Local #81 and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He served his country as a corporal in the United States Army during the Korean War from 1951-1957.
“Chief Milne was an integral member of the Fairfield Police Department family” said current Chief Charles Voelker. “He remained very much in touch with the department’s activities after his retirement by attending various department social events and his presence will be surely missed” said the chief.
A funeral mass was held for the chief on Tuesday January 3rd at St. Thomas More R.C. Church in Fairfield. To view a video of the funeral, please click the following link.
- Call our tips hotline: (973) 227-9290
Please call 2-1-1 to report any suspicious activities
Fairfield Police has been involved with the Special Olympics for over 15 years. [learn more]