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'Marginal' Savings from Teaneck Police Merger, Study Finds

Combining three police departments would bring $75K in savings per town, report finds.

A county-funded study recommended against merging the Teaneck, Bogota and Little Ferry police departments, saying the move would offer only "marginal" savings and was unlikely to increase the level of service in the three communities. 

Consolidating the departments would lead to $225,000 in combined savings for the three towns, according to a report by Blue Shield Consulting LLC. The merger would offer only $75,000 in savings per town. 

Each department was already meeting the needs of its residents and a change would only be suggested if it offered taxpayers a larger cost-saving, the report said. 

Savings would be achieved by the elimination of two police chiefs, two captains, two lieutenants and at least one sergeant. Blue Shield, however, concluded there would be no "significant" savings. 

"This is based on the fact that all three departments function presently understaffed and bringing them together is not going to diminish that number of sworn officers just the number of ranking officers," according to the report. 

Still, the report recommended a host of possible shared services agreements. 

"However, there is savings that could be achieved going forward by consolidating communications, expanded shared court services with all three communities, sale of large inventory of equipment, vehicles, weapons, and gear could be reduced or sold," the report said. 

Although shared services savings might not come immediately, the agreements could become a necessity under the state's 2 percent tax levy cap, the report said.

If the merger took place, the combined department would be headquartered in Teaneck, with no less than 132 officers serving a combined population of 57,205, the report said. A small substation could be located in Bogota. Startup costs would range from $100,000 to $200,000, but the report said could be made up by selling surplus equipment. 

Residents would not see improved services under a merged department, according to Blue Shield. 

"Under the current staffing levels of the Teaneck, Bogota and Little Ferry Police Departments it would be unlikely to see an increase in services to any community if a consolidation of police departments were installed," the report said. 

Although the study examined consolidation of the three departments, Little Ferry officials have said they were only interested in providing contracted police services to another town.

The study originally focused on merging the Teaneck and Bogota police, but Little Ferry was added later. The report also pointed to concerns raised because Little Ferry and Bogota are not contiguous. 

Teaneck's police department could not be compared to the smaller Bogota and Little Ferry agencies, the report noted.  

"The Teaneck Police Department does it all and provides expansive services to its residents with programs and services second to none by New Jersey standards," the report concluded. 

The study was funded through seized funds provided by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office to towns considering police mergers. 

Police consolidations are being considered around Bergen County, including a heated debate over merging the county police with the sheriff's office. 

 

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zizi September 19, 2012 at 07:06 PM
75k per town might sound not much of a savings.... but the real savings will come over time... and when these departments will function as one..... see below... "However, there is savings that could be achieved going forward by consolidating communications, expanded shared court services with all three communities, sale of large inventory of equipment, vehicles, weapons, and gear could be reduced or sold," the report said.
John Santaella September 19, 2012 at 08:23 PM
zizi is correct. A marginal savings here and a marginal savings there add up. This "Blue Shield Consulting" wouldn't be made up of retired police officers still looking out for the Blue Line, would it?
Who Is John Galt September 20, 2012 at 05:14 AM
How about some positive comments for once. There is so much cynicism on here all the time. The report had this to say about our township's police department. We should be proud. "Teaneck's police department could not be compared to the smaller Bogota and Little Ferry agencies, the report noted." "The Teaneck Police Department does it all and provides expansive services to its residents with programs and services second to none by New Jersey standards," the report concluded." That's a pretty impressive evaluation.
JamesTS September 20, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Dont worry John Galt ZIZI is famous for always going negative. I am suprised he didnt complain about the nice story on FDU students cleaning up a park! It is just funny by now. I do think it is nice the study confirmed what many residents already know. Teaneck Police already have too many crimes, accidents and even MURDERS to worry about without adding bogota and Litte Ferry. And I do not (with all due respect) want Bogota and Little Ferry police patroling Teaneck because I do not think they have experience to properly handle Teaneck's problems and community. These savings are NOTHING! And high startup costs that we would make back from selling old stuff? Sounds fishy to me. The big problem with Teaneck is abandoned buildings (Alfred Ave) the low rent properties, tax free properties and closing stores. Focus on that stuff to help taxpayers please.
zizi September 20, 2012 at 01:14 PM
@JamesTS: the word "always" should not be used very often....... all it takes is one exception and ..... you provided the exception your self... my friend.....
Paul Ostrow September 20, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Teaneck is a small city or 40,000, regardless of "township" classification. Our police department handles a huge variety of responses and issues no different than New York City, Philadelphia, Newark or Hartford on a scaled back/smaller scale. Because Bogota is contiguous to Teaneck in geography, it would make sense from many perspectives to join forces. Joining would likely save dollars, streamline and improve operations for both towns and the nature of Bogota, relatively small and mostly residential would yield smoothand doable transition and through attrition allow for a effecient melding of personel. Little Ferry seems a bit isolated/distant, seperated by Route #46 and the Hackensack River and a more complicated environemnt to service in conjuction with Bogota and Teaneck which share contiguous space and feeder streets north and south. Both municpal governments should seriously consider this option. Combining these two well trained, experienced and knowledgable departments makes sense.
Noah Cohen September 20, 2012 at 02:49 PM
FYI: The full report is now attached to this article above in PDF format.
John Santaella September 21, 2012 at 09:18 AM
Thank you Noah.

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