Bloomfield community meeting on policing, October 14, 2020
12:06AM Oct 14, 2020
Councilman Davis, I'm gonna give you the host now. Thank you
guys all said
so I can begin. Yes. Okay, thank you. So welcome, everyone, I hope everyone is having a safe and. And everyone as well this evening. My name is Dr. Ward, Tina Davis, I'm Councilwoman for Bloomfield, the township of Bloomfield. And we are here to have another segment of our community conversations. This particular segment is a follow up to one that we had in June, that deals with community, with community policing, with policing, and race. And so today, we have have our police director with us again today. And we're going to talk about, you know, a follow up, find out what have we, there were some some questions that were were asked of the director in the last session, and he said he'd follow up with us and in general, give us some updates of where where we are and what the status of, of our policing is, at this point. So I would like to begin by introducing or having our mayor, who has been so instrumental in helping in terms of helping to guide this these community conversations, and and making sure that we keep these conversations going on a variety of topics. So Mayor Venetia, would you please say a few words?
Yeah, I thank you, Councilman Davis. These community conversations have been absolutely wonderful. You know, we've done a series of them. And, you know, we thought this best for the month of October, we do a follow up to our meeting that we had back in, I believe June with our police director and to, so he could go over all the great things that our Bloomfield police department is doing. And we can hear from the community where they feel we're struggling. And we could go back and see how we can improve it from the from the governing body standpoint. So I just want to thank our police director, Sam de Mayo, and I want to thank Councilwoman Davis and Councilman Mendell, as well for kind of leading this series. You know, for the public to know, we've been getting a lot of great feedback from other elected officials throughout the county, and also kind of a county matriarch bill Payne, the brother of congressman Donald Payne, who's been given us a lot of compliments, how we've been leading these tough conversations that need to be had that not many mayors, and councils want to have with their community. So again, thank you, everyone, for participating. And I look forward to a great discussion tonight. Thank you.
Thank you, Mayor. As the mayor said, this is these kinds of conversations are so important. And we we pride ourselves in Bloomfield as being a community in which people are actively engaged in, in making our community better. We are committed to dealing with the tough conversations that are so necessary to be able to move forward. So often, we've seen people or we sort of tend to be sort of work in little echo chambers we are we we tend to be closest with people who share generally our political ideology, and it's very difficult sometimes to have a, you know, what's needed is the opportunities for dialogue and understanding. And so this has been is that educational component is a very, very important part of the Civil Rights Commission. And I would I would like to mention that, even though not on the panel tonight, the Civil Rights Commission has been working in tandem with with us and in terms of, you know, organizing some of the programming. So I would like to make sure that I recognize the the chair of the of the Commission, Dr. Shawna Hill, Paul, and commissioners for their their work on this effort. And next we will so I think one of the complaints in the last session was that there was a lot of time for present presenting and not enough time for questions and answers. So I want to I'm going to make, I'm going to end that there. And I'm going to hand this over to Councilwoman Jenny Mondale who is going to help who will be moderating this evening. She will, and she will be monitoring the chat. Please answer she will give you specifics about that. And I will also will, if you if you're on Facebook Live watching, I will help funnel those questions to Councilwoman Mondale as well, she'll she'll go over the specifics, I'm sure. So Councilwoman Mondale.
Thank you, Councilwoman. And before we get started, I do also want to acknowledge that we are joined, though not on the screen, but we are joined by Councilman gamble, Councilman Rockwell and Councilman Joanna as well. So they are they are in the audience and available. So as Councilman Davis had mentioned, we are doing this as a webinar. But you do have the opportunity to ask us questions there. You can do that either through the q&a function or through the chat function. I see that someone's already posted a question on there. So I promise that we will get to those. But the format of tonight I'm sorry, public safety director de Mayo is going to start by doing a very brief presentation, talking a little bit about about analytics and some of the things that the police department is doing recently, and then we will open up to q&a. So I'm actually going to turn it over to to director DeMaio right now.
Thank you very much, Councilman and Mayor, Councilwoman Davis, as well thank you very much for creating this opportunity for us to get our message out there. You know, we as a police department every day through social media, try to get our message out there and all the great things that we're doing with it interact with the community, and sessions like this, or just make it that much that much better for us. You know, you mentioned the hard conversations. And I'm in this business for 34 years, easy conversations don't get anything done. It's the hard conversations and hard work to get things done moving forward. What I want to kind of do is just a quick brief, so we can answer questions on kind of where we were, where we are, and things that we're still doing proactively to get to even a better place. You know, five years ago, the mayor and council tasked us with making this Police Department professional and creating a connection with the community. One of the first things I noticed when I got here was that the community policing unit was pretty much non existent. I committed to creating a full time community policing unit and creating programs. I mean, we've created programs like our youth academy that's put on over 400 children through an interactive Academy with us in the summer, our citizen academies coffee with a cop pizza with a cup, they only get paid at our commander of community policing, just came up with an idea for a community bike ride this weekend that didn't went over so well. We're always looking for something new, a new connection with the community. And working so hard and really changing the culture of this agency over the past five years, you know, we get into a really good place, we're feeling really good about ourselves. We're doing things like in the areas of racial diversity, where we're collecting data that nobody else is collecting, you know, every one of our stops, our motor vehicle stops, we collect the racial data, and we examine it. And it becomes an indicator for us to see if maybe there's a potential problem somewhere, one of our police officers
and all these things, doing early warning indicators, anything that we could possibly do that's present right now, Mayor Council has given us the funding and the opportunity to be able to do that to make this a great police department. We've become a model in this county as the mayor talking about how bill painter was talking about what Bloomfield is doing. other departments, you had this county row was calling us. So can we get this policy? Can we get that policy? In over this past five years, we've become an accredited police police agency. We're the only ones in the county, we're the minority ones in the county, we already went to our secondary reaccreditation process. And that goes a long way. It's not an easy thing. It means that the policies and structures that create the foundation of our police department are solid. And not only are they there and writing and solid, but we're following them each and every day, because that's what they monitor on us. So all these great things that we do we get the morale of everybody up, everything's moving forward, we get to COVID. Our guys work super hard. We had over a dozen people contract COVID while working out in the street, and then we get a personal blogger decides he's going to open some data and basically just pulls the number of stops by the top 10 police officers in Bloomfield and deem them to be racially profiled. When I looked at it, I was infuriated. I couldn't believe that somebody would do that. And and how disheartening these hardworking cops that really connected our community every day, in order to take just numbers and not looking at any other clinical analytical data with it is totally ridiculous. Other things need to be looked at other than just how many stops they made. What area of the town is the officer working in? What is the crime detail that is working? What are other companies? Are there any other complaints against that officer that would be similar to that? Whatever his arrest, like is he arresting in an ordinate amount of a certain race. It urges field inquiries on an inordinate amount of a certain race. And that may not be what was done to this blog. But that's what we do as a police department. We don't do that monthly, we don't do it annually. But we do that every single day. Our internal affairs unit is tasked with doing that. And not only do they look at the numbers, but now they go and look at the stops individually, in a quality control check component, where they watch the actual body camera footage, they watched in car camera footage to see if our officers are treating the residents the right way. Audio officers treating everyone with dignity and respect, which is what we demand them to do. So I just want me personally totally discount that blog that was put out, that's not those names of those officers that were listed. That's not who they are. Those are hard working officers that respect the men and women in this community. Moving forward, there's we still want to be as best as we possibly can. The mayor brought something to my attention about a week and a half ago, he saw an article that PSE and G was given a $300,000. Grant to directors places to to to enhance policing and communities. I reached out for the Rutgers police Institute immediately I worked with them back when I was in New York and invited them please come in, look at our debt. The mayor talked at the last council meeting about Okay, we're sure we're we're deep. We're doing a deep dive into our data. We're looking at everything that we're doing. But let's see if we can go even deeper. Are there other analytics that we can look at it with other things that we could do that give us even a better snapshot, and a better picture of what our officers are doing out on the street everyday. And Rutgers has agreed to come in. They're finishing up the the grant opportunity stuff with PSE and G now we'll be doing our first zoom meeting with them next week. They're going to come in and do an independent audit of our data, give us recommendations on maybe other things that we should be collecting as well. Are we analyzing our data the right way? And give it us give us an independent assessment of how we're doing? And do we need improvement? Do we need change? And how could we be doing what we're doing better? In addition to that, as well, I'm a member of the police executive research forum, which deals with police departments all over the country, we I saw an advertisement come out where a lot of police departments throughout the country were using a new, a new program through the academic network, and police diversity, which obviously is online. Now you can't send officers at the different states for these courses. But the three main things that this training course deals with is recognizing and addressing implicit bias and diversity awareness, identifying stereotypes, which will impact relationships between police in the community, and effective engagement when officers are interacting in diverse communities. It's just another layer of training that we're going to give our police officers on top of the bias policing training that we give them twice a year, we're mandated to only do that once every two years, we already do that twice a year to go above and beyond. We want to embed in our officers as much as we possibly can, that this is the way you're going to behave. This is what we're going to expect from you. This is what the mayor and council demand. And if you operate outside of the parameters of what we're telling you, then discipline will come after that.
Thank you, Director and make good sorry. No, that's great. Thank you very much. And I appreciate that you acknowledge and recognize that this is an ongoing conversation. It's not just something that you do and you move on from and I appreciate also that you are reaching out to outside Independent Sources sort of to provide that check and balance for yourself. One of the questions that just came through, was asking, congratulated you on connecting with the records police Institute and had requested to know if if they could know who the researchers are. I'm not sure how that works. But I do think that it's a well respected organization. And I'm sure when they are done with their study that they will, you know, we can we can discuss that publicly. So I think we'll table that for now. But I think that's that for the moment. You know, I can't
get the answer for you quickly. The person that we're dealing with directly right now is Linda Tartaglia, who is the person running the police Institute right now. And we have our first zoom meeting next week, she's going to bring in some of her people and see which one of her analysts would be the best one suited for what we're doing and plug them into our agency.
Great. I know that you had mentioned Thank you. I know that you have mentioned statistics. And so I had a couple of questions that came through from residents prior to this evening. And so one of those questions is I would like to know if the police department keeps statistics on place of residence for people pulled over for traffic stops.
Okay, so that's data that we do not collect, but it's something that we certainly are looking at now. It's going to be one of the things that we bring to the attention of Rutgers. Another Another point that was brought out in that blog was Bloomfield Avenue, and that we were policing heavily on Bloomfield Avenue, and it compared stops racial stops on the avenue in a town to census five And that you can't compare any of that to a 2010 census. Bloomfield Avenue. So the most highly traveled roadway in the county. I believe it's over 300,000 vehicles a day and traveled Bloomfield Avenue. And now that we have alpr systems installed at critical points on Bloomfield Avenue, it's gonna make it easy for Rutgers to come in and create a snapshot for us of who's operating the vehicle on bluff. 11. Is it is it all Bluefield residents? Is it outside residents? I mean, it goes from Newark to West Caldwell, and anybody within the general area that's either getting off the parkway, or coming on the parkway has two choke points in Bloomfield, whether it be Bloomfield Avenue, or watch on the revenue that they're getting on and off the parkway. So it's a heavily traveled roadway by people from all municipalities is what we're assuming.
Thank you. We have another question. And I apologize. I'm trying to sort through these. So give me one second. Um, do you have a sense of what percentage of stops result in citations? And further on that question, Can that be is that is racial data tracked with that as well?
Yes, it is. Whether or not a summons is issued, or a warning is issued, it's still considered a stop. And we're at as a ratio compared to actual summons is issued compared to warnings. It's about 6040 60% summons issued to 40% warnings issued.
Thank you. There's another question here about the the body cameras that are placed where? And the question is. I'm sorry, is the timeline. Okay. I think the question was about the policy, in terms of this body cameras and that policy be shared on the website?
Yes, absolutely. Um, about a month ago, I had a conversation with with you guys about that we were going to put all of our policies on our website. At the time we started that process, there was only four policies on our website. And those were only the ones that were mandated by the Attorney General for us to put on there. As of today, right now, we're at 21 policies on there that's been like that way for about several weeks now. The next group of policies that were being vetted to go on our body cameras, one, so probably within the next week to 10 days, that'll that'll be on it, what we have to do before we put a policy out to the public like that, is we go through it very, very carefully, to make sure that there's nothing in there that would create a danger to our officers, by it being public, is there anything in there that deals with a certain operational technique that they may be using, that's for their safety. So we did that we may have to redact that section of it. So for 221 that are out there are full policies, nothing's been redacted. And we anticipate by looking at the body one, body camera one, that it that'll be the same. And, you know, to your guys credit, we're probably the only police department, I know, we're the only police department in the county, if not the state that's issued every one of our police officers, their own personal body camera, just like we give them a weapon, a walkie talkie and a bulletproof vest. What that did for us was give them the responsibility of having their own body worn camera, where they're not just pulling any random one, they're responsible to make sure that it works, that it's charged, that it that it's with them at all times. And it's really has gone a long way for us in getting effective footage and not losing anything.
Director if somebody is, is pulled over and issued a citation for a traffic violation, is that automatically recorded by the body camera?
Yes, it is. It's recorded not only by the body camera, but by the car camera as well.
And then what would be the procedure if somebody wanted I guess to view their own video?
Yeah, it's not a problem at all, they would be able to contact internal affairs contacted patrol commander or anyone within the department indicate that that they want to view their their stop, and they could come up to internal affairs sit in front of the monitor and watch the stuff.
Great, thank you. And then how long does the police department store that data, or that footage,
um, for any random data that's not connected as a piece of evidence, we're required by the state to store it for 30 days, we have enough storage capacity that we do more than that we store it for 90 days. Just in case there's a complaint that may come in past the 30 day mark, and we can have we don't have to say, Oh, that's it. We don't have the footage anymore. I think 90 days of storage on everything is really adequate. I don't think anybody's going to come in for any type of complaint after three months. And and then once we it's it's footage that is used, that's going to be needed for court or anything else is gonna have some evidential value, then it gets stored for indefinitely goes out to our server.
Thank you, Director. So going back again to the data. You had mentioned earlier that you're one of the only police departments that actually collect a lot of the data, I believe so can you can you tell me? What percentage of police departments in New Jersey or nationally Do you know, collect racial data? And then, if not how? How can other towns encourage this?
It's a very, very small percentage. I know that for a fact. I know New York, the city of New York doesn't close, I started it when I was there. They track racial data and put it out in their transparency data and their website each month with field inquiry stops, motor vehicle stops and arrests. I don't know of any other town in the county that's doing it. And when I spoke to Mr. Paglia at Rutgers, she only knew maybe one or two most other towns that they've dealt with, that does track the racial data. Because you see what can happen when you do that, you know, somebody grabs ahold of that data, analyzes it in an irresponsible way. And they come out with a negative story against your department. So from doing the right thing, and collecting data that nobody else is collecting, your data can become your own worst enemy, for people that don't know how to analyze it the proper way.
woman Mondale, I think that's a really interesting point. I'm sorry, for just interrupting No. I think it's a very interesting, interesting point. And I think that that I understand the directors concerned about, you know, how it does make you a target, but I think it also, there's some real value in it, that's why we are doing it right. I'm wondering if there is some way that we can, you know, just I'm just thinking broadly, those of us that aren't elected officer, and then the scope of this? You know, we found that when we do these Facebook Live Events, they often sometimes trickle into other communities. I mean, what we really need is this kind of data everywhere, it needs to be the standard, because it shouldn't be, you know, we should be able to do comparative analysis of how similar types of towns similar quarter, you know, there, there are other things that we can really a town could Garner from having richer data across the board. And I'm just wondering if there are, I mean, I'm just doing my typical talk out loud thing, but I'm just wondering if there's something that we can do in people who are in there that may be watching this can be engaging with with asking for, you know, I don't know statelet state legislation around this, this, around this issue that that, that that mandates this because I can imagine
you know, there could be an awful lot of there could be a lot learned from having this be much more, you know, I know, I know, in our town, I see all the wonderful things that you can do, when you see things that look disproportion, how you can intervene. And I feel like it's a real value in a more broad way. So it right now I understand your point of view, I think you make a very, you know, you make a compelling point about how it can how it makes your target. But I think the way that you we shouldn't, I should I would encourage that we should be thinking about how do we encourage other communities to embrace this idea because it's really something that you know, I would like me, I don't know if if our if our if Montclair or Nutley or Bellevue, but I just feel like there's some, some some much to be learned from when you when you collect that kind of data. And in terms of internally and what we can learn more broadly. So I'm talking about too long, but I just wanted to kind of follow up on that point. directly. I'm sorry, Councilman Dale, I'm going back into my watching the questions mode, I apologize.
I agree with you totally. And then, you know, just real quick to wetlands to, you know, have data changes each month, and how it's always different, where you can look one month or look over a certain period at what officers are doing certain stops, and it could be disproportionate one way, and then you could look a secondary month and it can be disproportionate the opposite way like for the month of September for us, our motor vehicle stops flipped, and we had a much higher amount of white motor vehicle operators being stopped. Then we did African American and Hispanic because during that time period, the crime that was being driven in the township was up in the north end of town during the overnight hours with car break ins, that was our problem for that month. So most of our resources were focused up in that end of town, and it flipped, you know, who was being stopped. And that's just kind of how it goes along. You know, wherever you're conducting your police activity. And you can't just do police work anywhere. You know, when I got here haphazard, was just say you just go in your sector and do whatever. Our officers are directed to directed patrols each and every day on where to go, what to do time of day, day a week, based on crime analysis, you find that it would be irresponsible for us to just say, Okay, everybody go out and just go do police work, go stop cars give tickets. That's not how we operate here. We operate in a very analytical way, intelligence based policing, where they go to areas where issues are happening, complaints are being made by residents, and that's where he conducted police activity.
So I think building on Dr. Davis, astute points, which she always makes, and it's always welcome to Ask them You know that that, you know, having more data than on which to base your decisions would be helpful. So if surrounding towns for example, we're also collecting the same data that you're collecting, it would seem that that would that would allow you also to make better decisions as well. So I appreciate also that you that you're using data to drive your decisions. But it would be nice also to see other departments in other areas connected to ours do the same thing. So I'm going to pivot for a second there's a an early question that came through about the police department work social workers and psychiatrists to help with, you know, with with citizens who may be experiencing mental health issues.
Okay, so we work closely with our own internal health department and Paula pica, should her people do a fantastic job. You know, we have a number of emotionally disturbed persons and homeless persons that we know live in our town. Our officers pretty much know all of them. We interact with them all the time. Once we know the cold weather is common, we go out and actually look for them with polar pikas in the health department personnel and find them and get them into a shelter outside of our own personal health department, people and our psycho psychological people. That's basically who we as a police department are dealing with whenever the need is there.
Thank you, we I'm scrolling through the questions in a second. There's a follow up question, I think to the traffic stop before Can you describe what a OPR means?
alpr is automatic license plate reader. What that does for us is it allows us to track any stolen vehicles wanted vehicles, anything that's riding through town, we're partnered with the Essex County prosecutor's office on that. And there's alpr at all critical choke points throughout the county, whether it's up in West Essex, or down here in our town of Bloomfield, and city in North, East Orange all throughout. And what it does for us, it's an investigative tool. So if, if there's a shooting or an incident or something that takes place, that license plate gets entered into the system. And now what it does is it notifies us in real time, where that car is where's the car been? And we could actually go back historically and look, okay, we had a vehicle with this license plate number, do a shooting on First Avenue. Now, where's that car been for the last 30 days. So we know it's been on 18th Avenue in New York each and every day. And it's been parked in that area. Now our detectives to go up here, search the area, locate the vehicle. And it's just a really good investigative tool for us. It also alerts us when a stolen vehicle is riding through town, unregistered vehicles, whatever it may be, we really don't do too much with the unregistered vehicles because it'd be a bit too much. We'd be probably having another conversation about that right now. But we do when we have stolen cars right to those alpr or officers are alerted to it.
Thank you. Um, we have another question about I'm sorry. Second, so one of the residents has commented that, you know, right now, sometimes there's a negative spotlight shone on please. And he, this resident would like to know what your what you're doing to help keep our officers motivated.
Why can tell you one thing, somebody's stuff that's gone on in different parts of this country. guarantee is hard to give unless you're Joe Namath. But some of those things I could say would not happen in this police department. We painstakingly train our officers to have policies in place, when the seven Can't wait came out, the mayor and I had a conversation and the majority that we already had in our policies, and then we stress the rest of them. I'm sure during this time of police bashing, and everything that's going on, it's you have to keep the morality officers up. at every opportunity I get, I'm down at roll call. And I talked to them and tell them how important their job is, and how it makes just small percentage of people that feel that way. And how the vast majority of our township and people overall respect the job they do love them for who they are, and want to see them get home to their families each and every night. We're doing it now what if we weren't able to have an award ceremony this year? So we're going to roll calls are bringing them up to our office and giving you officers their awards individually? and having that same conversation with him? Just keep keep your heads up? You're doing a great job.
Thank you. So if somebody does have it does have a complaint about an officer what would be the process for someone to to address that?
Okay, so I'll give you real quick but also on our website, if you go into the internal affairs tab on our website, it tells you how you can make a complaint it's by phone anonymously in person stopping officer ministry committed in any way possible. There was nobody that can make any complaint even if they're anonymous, that we won't take and create a formal internal affairs investigation.
Thank you. So if somebody if you are concerned about the mental health of one of your Officers, how do you address that? What kind of interventions are available to them?
Okay, so we recently had something similar to this, and we've had them in the past as well. So just there's programs out there, there's a program called cop to cop, which are basically all retired police officers that will intervene and talk with the officers. A lot of times an officer will feel much more comfortable talking to somebody that's experienced exactly what they did, you know, another police officer that's been trained to deal with these type of interventions. Also, we have some officers in our department that are trained as as intervention officers to deal with members of department that may have an issue. It depends on the situation to you know, what is it is that we think the person is, you know, emotionally distressed over maybe a marital situation. So we may remove the officer from street duty, remove their weapon and put them on administrative duty, we look at each case individually to see exactly what it needs, and always want to offer the officers the opportunity to speak to someone to make them feel better.
Thank you. So, um, if somebody is interested in joining the police force in Bloomfield, how would they go about doing that? And as a follow up question to that, you know, what efforts are you making to diversify our police force as well?
Okay, I hate to say it, because probably, there's a lot of people that won't be happy about it. But unfortunately, in my opinion, we're a civil service town. it narrows the parameters of what we what we can do to hire the best quality people that we want in the police department. So if you want to become a Bluefield police officer, you have to wait for that period of time over three to four year period. We're Civil Service Officer exam, you have to be a resident of Bloomfield, pass the written exam. And then the process starts with us where you go through the background investigation, physical component, medical component, psychological component, and then they'll go to the police academy for 26 weeks if they successfully graduate that they become a police officer. As far as diversity, we've done two different diversity affairs for community police unit the last time each of the last time that community policing was offered an exam. They went out to the community with flyers into our mostly our south in the town communities, got the flyers that went into the high schools, because you only have to be 18 years old to become a civil service police officer. And we're working now with the trying to connect with the college. The majority of the college students at Bloomfield college live on campus. When you live on campus, that's your address. That's your your Bluefield residence. So kids that are going through the criminal justice program, when a civil service test is coming up, would be able to to take the test have a Bluefield address, and especially coming out in a criminal justice program would be a great thing. We've also had the NAACP out of East Orange had come to us and said Would we be willing to participate in like a training program if they hosted a training program to enhance people's ability to take the written test when the test was coming? Would we send community policing officers and officers there to kind of give them a broader perspective on what the job is? And when it's going to take and how hard it's going to be to get through it physically and and mentally? And we certainly should. Absolutely. So when they do that. We're going to be a part of that as well.
Thank you. I do want to acknowledge I see on here. Councilwoman Cruz has also joined us this evening. I don't want to leave her out. So welcome. Councilwoman, I'm an addition to that I do have one question that is specific to an area in town. And so I want to acknowledge for that person who is watching that. I see your your question about Parkview abs and we will make sure to address that directly. If you'd like I will send you a private message and you can send me your email address so that we can connect with you. We have another question here. Does Bloomfield please assist in driver education classes, specifically the Attorney General safestop program.
I'm driving in programs that we do participate in. We do child seat, child seat safety with the police department and the fire department. We do drunk driving courses with the fire department again at Bloomfield High School each year, teaching them the dangers of drunk driving. We do an actual simulation out front of high school where the fire department the police department responds. We also do to our grad program with the high school. Another program with drunk driving where they put the goggles on and having to drive golf carts and simulation and being drunk while they're driving and trying to navigate through a cone of course, and just give teaching the dangers of drunk driving and why they shouldn't do so.
Thank you. Can you tell us a little bit more about the the citizens police academy what that is what it involves. And and, you know, hopefully, at some point we can offer that again.
Yes. Unfortunately, the last one that we were right in the midst of partnered with Montclair Police Department and the Glen Ridge police department was cut short right at the beginning of COVID, we had to, we had to bring it to an end, what we basically do is it's every Wednesday, the group of citizens come in to whatever location we have auditorium. And a different components of the police departments come in and speak to them each Wednesday night. We actually want them to know, what we do, how we operate, why we do the things, we do feel their questions, we also do a couple of field trips, we take them to the taking classes down to the range that firearms range, and put them through to the shooting simulator, where they're that person holding the gun in their hand, walking through a simulator, and having to make that decision in a split second, whether to shoot or not shoot, it just kind of gives them a perspective on on how that split second decision making, how difficult it is for police officers out in the street every day, and how an untrained person makes the wrong decision almost every time where when you watch a police officer go to that course, they make the right decision about 99% of the time because of the training. And that that enables us to enhance and make sure that our police officers are being trained properly on when to use their weapons. And you know what, less than lethal force to use when it's necessary.
Thank you. I'm looking to see if there have not been any other questions that have popped up. But I want to give everybody a second or two. Just to say that we'll start taking final questions here in a minute. In the meantime, directors or is there anything else that you would like to say about about our police about how our police interact with the community?
I, I'd like to tell you too, about you know, we look at anything that can be considered less than lethal as important and why would you not want it? When we finally got in New Jersey, the ability in his county the ability to have tasers. Some departments were against it, they didn't want their officers to have it that good it was going to be dangerous or if it's managed the right way. It's policy the right way. It's going to help your police officers, why would you want to put your officer in a situation where he doesn't have a less than lethal force of weapon to use. We're now he's got to go to his gun. And I can tell you a perfect example. We had a job when an emotionally disturbed person about 334 months ago that was in an apartment and cause harm to one of one of his family members. And the officers get there they knew what they were going into. So the lieutenant that was on the scene with him brought the British shield out of the back of the car up with him. And the person was in the back of the kitchen armed with two knives, throwing the knives at the police officers which Lieutenant was blocking with the shield. And then he charged the officers with the knife. The lieutenant was able to use his taser from around the shield, tasty individual bringing them under control, safely bring them under arrest and get into the hospital. Take away the tasers and put that job eight, nine years ago. We have a police shooting at that situation with possibly an EDP who really needed help that winds up shot. So we always are looking for any particular way to use any any use of force if we possibly can. That's less than lethal and armor officers with it.
Thank you. We had a couple other questions come in while you were speaking. And one question about some concerns about pedestrian crossings on Broad Street, which we know can be a heavily trafficked area where people tend to speed is that is that something that we could look at enforcing better in terms of at the crosswalk?
Yes, I mean, we do a number of programs to cops and cross walks and anything we get grant opportunities for and going back a number of months ago, the mayor brought it up to us where he wanted an analysis done of each one of the crosswalks timing, or how long was the time that people are being given to cross the street? And is it adequate? And we just had a conversation with our engineer a couple of weeks ago about it. We've got our data together, we have our analysis done by our outside engineers. And we're now going to start working with the county being bros giudici. County Road to try to make sure that they're all time the right way.
Thank you. I have a question about do you know when the next I think this probably refers to the civil service entrance exam? Do you know when the next exam is?
It's not going to be for another two to three years? A test was given or actually our new list just came out probably prevent eight or nine months ago. We haven't haven't certified anyone on yet because we're still at our maximum to right now. But you know for the next Bloomfield civil service test will be a couple years.
I was it was another acronym moment. I knew it was going to come what's a to
a table of organization. Thank you, which are 125
there's a question here. Have Have there been any recent complaints against officers for being discriminatory against people of color?
We do not. We do not have any of those I gave you at the last council meeting the three that we had. One of them was one of them was a woman who indicated that when the officer was taking a report from her, he asked when she gave the address of where she lived, he asked What floor she lived on. And she felt that that was racist because he asked What floor she lived on. That why couldn't you live in a one family house and why does it have to be house with floors. I think that person may have been a little a little bit of an EDP as well because and then the person also came back again last week and made another complaint about being stopped in a motor vehicle stop. And we've already reviewed the footage the body camera footage, the car camera footage, and the offers act officers actually completely property properly. And while being yelled at by the by the driver and telling them that she would see them in court and everything else. And the officers like I'm not ready. He was so much ma'am. Pulling you over to give you a warning for traveling quickly to the college crosswalk. And we're not going to issue a summons. But she just didn't want to hear it ranted. raved and came to headquarters and made a complaint which we took.
Okay, thank you. There's another question here. If police are called to a home with a mentally ill person or their social workers who can be called to help better resolve the problem.
at current doo doo is no one directly that we will, especially after hours. If we have a situation like that during the day when the health department is working, and we need their assistance, they're always there ready to help us. But our officers also do go training on go for training on how to deal with edps. And since we started that training a few years ago, we definitely have seen a lot less use of force when they're dealing with DPS. They know how to deal with them much better and can talk them into getting onto the stretcher and being taken to the hospital, rather than making it a physical confrontation where they're putting the person you know, into a stretcher. Those numbers have come way down for us. Thank you.
I'm not seeing any other questions here. Councilman Davis,
I was transferring them from Facebook Live. So you have one now.
Okay, so how does it sit us and make a request for crosswalks or crossings at a place of concern.
Um, we we receive requests from citizens like that all the time, and our traffic unit goes out. And that's it, they do an analysis with a system that we have called jMr. That measures to begin with traffic and pedestrian traffic in the area. And as you guys will know, I'm there almost every month at the council meeting, bringing it to infer your approval and explaining what the analysis was. So just contact our police department call the desk 680 4141 41. Talk to the traffic division and they'd be happy to take it.
So I'm going to follow that up because I know this comes up often. But what is the process then for getting speed bumps on a street in my is that more complicated?
That's pretty much the same thing. It starts with us in police in the police department, then we send it to the engineering department. And there has to be a certain level of vehicular traffic or under a certain level of vehicular traffic on the street in order to qualify for speed bumps, if it's too heavily of a travel Street. And I don't recall exactly what the number is it's the engineer gives that to us. The speed bumps would not be warranted on the street.
Do you have any recommendations for I think requesting better lighting in certain areas and and how we might go about that.
There's it's another thing we do too when we get those complaints. Our officers actually have a form for public service that they go on if they see that street lights are out or residents complaining in areas not well lit enough, we get that requested the public service. Yeah, a lot of times they act really quickly. Through COVID things have slowed down quite a bit from their normal pace. But we do have a direct connection to the administrator's office into my office with public service to get things done with it.
I have a comment that Bloomfield pleases the best. So
I'm just following up with the the streetlights if somebody feels like that their concern has not been addressed. They how should they go about that? Should they go back to you and follow up?
You know I'm I welcome direct contact from any residents in our town. I have my public email address. It's on our website, please director at Bloomfield, NJ PD Comm. I mean I monitored it at just about 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And I personally like interacting myself With the resident before I send them to whatever Captain or Lieutenant or Sergeant is going to handle the situation. So anything that they're feeling satisfied in any way, just contact me directly, you'll get an answer.
Thank you. I think that's about it. Dr. Davis, is there any anything else coming through? No. Mayor, Dr. Davis, would you like to say any any final words?
Dr. Davis, you want to go first?
Thank you. Thank you, Mayor. Um, Thank you, Director DeMaio. What I will say, and I do appreciate your willingness, whether it was you know, we, we've done these community conversations more recently, a series of them, but when the Civil Rights Commission came to you, three, four years ago, around the time when Ferguson was happening, there, were after, um, there, you know, we asked you to come to the community, and we had a very, very well attended a session where you answered, you know, you, you answered community questions, you know, just people lined up and asked you, one, and I really appreciate your openness. We worked very hard to work, to, to, to work with the with our public safety division, we hold a pretty high standard and have high expectations. And I appreciate the fact that you also share those. I believe that, that, that our police department is a work in progress, but I've been so pleased with how much progress has been made over the last four or five years, it is is to a credit to you. And it's a credit to the commitment of the officers, their willingness to engage in this and so I'm proud to be from a community where, you know, we're not perfect, we are still trying to get things, right. But the fact that that, that we can have these kind of conversations, and I have never ever asked you once about anything in which you your response was defensive. You You're always very, very, and i and i think that i think that I feel that that ripples that through through the department, um, you know, if I, if I say, have, there's this concern in the community, wherever you never are just defensive, you're like, Well, let me investigate that. Let's find out what's going on with that. So I think that our town benefits from from that kind of leadership and that openness. And I think that that kind of engagement, I see it, you know, I am a person who looks at a lot of a lot of news reads a lot of news. And I see different ways in which directors and police officers, or captains or chiefs respond, and I've just really, really been very impressed with the way you are, when you say that you're community oriented, and you're trying to take the our public safety to a place of community, I honestly believe we could have seen you walk, not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. So thank you so much for your willingness to engage in community and your willingness to keep moving forward to be to becoming a better, even better police department.
Thank you very much, Councilman.
Again, you know, I just want to thank everyone, and I want to thank our police director for being here this evening. Um, you know, policing is very difficult in not only Bloomfield but in America today, you know, it's changing at lightning, pace speed. And one thing I think the community appreciates, is the fact that our police department is willing to make those changes that are needed for 21st Century Policing. You know, and it's extremely important that we continue this and continue these conversations. And I think it's, you know, like we've discussed, you know, improving, you know, various different areas of the police department, whether it's central or even the way we continue to dig into the data. You know, I think that's, that's extremely important, the more we kind of continue to look at the data and, you know, present to the community, this is what's going on. This is where the crime is, this is where we have to have majority of our police officers at any given time. Um, I think they appreciate that dialogue, and they understand everything that's going on. And, you know, again, thank you. And I think this was a great discussion.
Thank you for the opportunity. Mayor Council.
Thank you, and I'll follow up and echo both what the mayor and Councilman Davis said. You know, But I appreciate your willingness to to be present and to speak with the community. And we certainly look forward to hearing the results of the independent group that's coming in from Rutgers. And, you know, we'll keep moving forward. So thank you for doing this tonight. And I'm sure we'll have an opportunity to do it again soon. Yes. Thank you. And thank you everyone for coming, who participated and ask questions as well. So, everybody, have a good evening.
Thank you, everyone.