Washington Town Council Debates Combining Police and DPW, Lack of Transparency

In a recent meeting, the Washington Town Council found itself grappling with diverse issues ranging from urgent infrastructure renovations to police promotions.

Critically, the town is confronted with compliance issues with the Department of Corrections’ requirements, particularly concerning the local police department’s facilities. Architect Anthony Iavino highlighted the lack of ADA compliance and proposed potential solutions – expanding the existing facility, relocating it, or adapting the current property. However, Iavino’s preliminary findings suggest the existing building’s ground floor might not accommodate all required services, sparking a heated debate over the feasibility of various proposals.

Members wrestled with the costs and practicality of renovations, including potentially combining the Department of Public Works (DPW) with the police department, or repurposing current spaces. One member advocated for creative solutions, urging the council to “think outside the box” by rearranging the internal layout of the building rather than expanding its footprint.

Beyond the realm of municipal infrastructure, discussions around community concerns were brought to the forefront. Concerns over speeding on Colonial Boulevard led to a dialogue about police presence and accessibility of Council members. Residents voiced fears about potential safety hazards due to speeding, particularly during peak school hours.

In parallel, concerns about the perceived inaccessibility of Council members post-election were raised. One resident suggested that there had been a notable decrease in transparency and open dialogue between the Council members and citizens since the recent election. The need to update the council’s calendar with contact information and, if viable, the identities of police officers on duty in town was a point of emphasis.

Responding to these concerns, one Council member was quick to reassure the citizens that they were still reachable and dedicated to serving their constituents. “We are all still accessible,” they said, driving home the point that the Council remained a vital resource for the township’s residents. They promised to provide a list of Council members’ phone numbers to one resident who did not have internet access, demonstrating an earnest effort to facilitate communication and engagement with the local community.

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Washington (Bergen)

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