Stafford, NJ Police Chief Named New NJSACOP Chair
Stafford Township Police Chief Tom Dellane, who joined the New Jersey State Association of Police Chiefs Board of Directors in 2018, now has a new role as he was named for a one-year term as President of NJSACOP.
He will oversee all New Jersey Police Chiefs Associations and work with the council to help implement procedures to assist law enforcement.
“Basically, you are the face of the association, all decisions made – in terms of policies as well as procedures – we interact and develop positive communications with our state representatives, interact regularly with the office of the attorney general by having discussions about impending guidelines and policies out of their office, giving advice and feedback, we also have relationships with all of our legislators so that when there is an issue or a bill related to the police or law enforcement they seek to present, we provide commentary and guidance on that as well,” Dellane told Townsquare Media News.
One of Chief Dellane’s goals as president will be to address the many concerns he and other police chiefs have, including certain pieces of legislation that prevent police from doing their job.
“I have several concerns, primarily, my main concern is underage, marijuana and alcohol,” Chief Dellane said. “The public voted for the legalization of marijuana, which I respect and have no problem with, however, when the implementing legislation was signed into law, it essentially legalized the use of alcohol and marijuana by minors and criminalized the conduct of police officers trying to interact with these minors and make their communities a better and safer place.”
Chief Dellane said allowing such acts in this legislation has led, in part, to pop-up parties and crowd control issues on the Jersey Shore.
“With the restrictions that we have imposed, the criminalization of our conduct and our interaction with minors, this has two effects: first, it encourages minors to act knowing that there is not much that we can do about it, and it gives less tools in law enforcement to control this situation,” Dellane said. given city, we no longer have this capacity and suddenly the crowds get bigger, they become more unruly, and that leads us to ask for mutual aid from other municipalities, which, I think, everyone recognizes , is not the best use of law enforcement resources and it’s incredibly expensive at the time because we’re bringing in specialized units, we’re bringing in overtime, we’re bringing in all person available to come and put a end to this situation. »
One of the other challenges New Jersey police are currently facing is the lawless or reckless behavior of some individuals in defiance of the law.
“I think what’s problematic, on the part of many officers I speak with, is the feeling that people can choose which laws they choose to follow,” Dellane said. “We are a nation of laws, and we are built on that, and that is what our whole society is based on to maintain peace and good order, and we have people who choose and choose the laws that they are going to enforce. respect – it puts us in a bad spot to have to enforce that even if it’s unpopular.”
A big challenge facing law enforcement today is New Jersey’s bail reform laws, which have an added wrinkle. with over 6,200 prisoners released earlier in the past two years by the Murphy administration.
“Bail reform has been incredibly frustrating, again we recognize the rationale and the reasons for bail reform to correct some of the inequities that were happening – I think what happened was is that we not only corrected those inequalities, but we created a whole different set of problems,” Dellane said.
One of the ways this has created a problem is with auto theft.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that car thefts have exploded in this state,” Dellane said. “One of the reasons behind that is what we call catch and release – I arrest you, you come out on condition, you absolutely don’t want to follow those restrictions and you can just continue your criminal ways.”
Chief Dellane also hopes to further address police-community relations and restore a more universal respect for police and law enforcement.
“I think police community relations are probably one of the most important things we can do as law enforcement officers. Having a good relationship with our community is imperative as far as where people have to trust your community, in a police department you have to be transparent The way you develop those things is to have an open and honest dialogue with your community partners, to be in the community, to to be seen, to share in community events,” Dellane said. “The question that concerns me – and I don’t know the answer to this one – is the level of hostility and general lack of civility and respect that seems to make default and it’s not a law enforcement problem, it’s a societal problem.”
You can listen to the full conversation I had with Chef Dellane here.