What's a Hoboken Roadway Patrol?
Basically it would be a law enforcement agency which has patrol jurisdiction over all Hoboken roadways (including any county roads within Hoboken's borders). The HRP would be a branch of the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Public Works. Local police are primarily responsible for investigating and enforcing traffic laws - but having a HRP frees local police to focus on other tasks not related to the roadways. HRP officers enforce the New Jersey Vehicle Code, pursue fugitives spotted on the roadways or sidewalks and attend to all significant obstructions and accidents within their jurisdiction. HRP officers are responsible for investigating and disposing of car accidents, disabled vehicles, debris, and other impediments to the free flow of traffic. They are often the first responders at the scene of an accident (or obstruction), and in turn summon paramedics, firefighters or tow truck drivers.
The job of the HRP would be broken down (but not limited to) into the following main goals:
1. Setting up DUI/DWI checkpoints.
2. Combat speeding with speed traps.
3. Ticket for reckless driving.
4. Ticket for failing to yield right of way to pedestrians.
5. Ticket for disobeying traffic control signal or STOP sign.
6. Ticket for double parked cars.
7. Ticket for jaywalkers.
8. Ticket not using seat belt.
9. Failure to stop for a school bus or disobeying a school crossing guard.
10. Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
I think the reason why we have disorder in Hoboken is that people basically know that our police are busy with other tasks. When is the last time you saw a speed trap or a DWI checkpoint in Hoboken? When have you ever seen a cop pull someone over for blowing through a stop sign?
I have been here 20 years and I was once pulled over by a cop for speeding in 1995 on Observer Highway. They let us off with a warning. I don't recall ever hearing about anyone getting caught speeding in Hoboken - have you?
As for "who pays for all this" - its simple. First off, I would suggest that the HRP should not be designed as a 24x7 police department. I would suggest that these officers would work 8 hour days, and those hours can be staggered/shifted depending on the day. For example, wouldn't you like Hoboken to have that "extra patrol" of HRP when the bars are open at night - setting up checkpoints for drunk drivers and people speeding?
The goal of the HRP isn't about adding more cops. To me, that is pointless. What we need are police who have ONE job which is to focus on the roads and sidewalks. If there is an emergency or special event (like a parade day or city-wide festival) we can utilize these police for those situations rather than outsourcing from surrounding agencies.
Also i'd like to see HRP use Class 2 police officers, if possible. Plus it would be a good way to create a pool of "good officers" to choose from if openings become available within the Hoboken Police Department ranks, too.
More taxes? I don't think so. I would surmise that by using Class 2 police for 8 hour shifts and to focus on ticketing reckless drivers or pedestrians would pay for most of the costs. I think there would be an initial upfront cost, which we already are paying for since we have six Harley Davidson bikes that are barely used by the police. Also, I think in warmer weather you can have HRP cops (in tandem) who can patrol using bicycles like they do in other parts of the country. Also i'd like to see cops utilize body-mounted cameras to record activities by the drivers that can be used in courts.
What you do you think?