TRENTON – Senator Paul A. Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic, the Vice Chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding today’s Committee hearing on the FY 2009 Department of Law and Public Safety Budget, and the need to provide funding for a State Police barracks in Bergen County:
“Throughout this year’s budget deliberations, representatives from rural areas have raised concerns about a proposal to charge communities patrolled by State Police a fee, to help offset the cost of these patrols. While I believe it would be wholly inappropriate for New Jersey to ask rural communities to shoulder the entire responsibility of these patrols, I believe a small fee helps to reimburse the State a portion of the costs associated with rural patrols, and helps ensure State Police resources are available for the rest of the State.
“As the State Senator representing the Meadowlands region of Bergen County, I’ve seen the extraordinary development and redevelopment that’s taken place in my own backyard. With the expansion of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, the construction of Xanadu, and the possible redevelopment of EnCap, local officials in the towns I represent do not have adequate local police presence to continue to meet the increasing demand.
“In southern Bergen County, we were promised a State Police barracks which would have supplemented the local law enforcement resources with a regional approach to policing. I believe this partnership is absolutely integral to the safety and security of the region.
“As we explore alternative cuts in State spending, I hope that we would be able to find funding for a Bergen County State Police barracks. The people of Bergen County have been patient, but we need State Police support to continue to address issues of public safety and security in the region. State Police are an asset to be used throughout the State of New Jersey, and taxpayers should not be penalized for doing the right thing and funding a local police presence.”