Bloomfield officials want to know if residents want a
new police substation built.
This week, the Council voted to place a question on the November ballot asking if a command center should be built in the township after Bloomfield Police Chief Christopher Goul shared details and options for the substation.
At Tuesday’s Council meeting, Goul explained that the structure could be a storefront, a trailer or a mobile command center. He ruled out the current command center noting that at 23 years old it was out of date. He said the substation could be located in the third ward or in the area of Lackawanna Plaza.
He said that having a staffing plan for the substation was essential.
“We need bodies to make it effective,” Goul said.
The Bloomfield police department is short staffed currently. There are currently 123 officers on the force including the five officially sworn in this week but looming retirements will drive staffing total down to 116.
In response to a question from Bloomfield Mayor Raymond McCarthy, Goul said the department would not currently have the staff to man the substation. Scheduling for the substation presented challenges, too, as Goul said he wasn’t sure if it was best to have officers there during the day or night.
He said that they would need to decide when officers would be stationed there and how often it would be open. He said that they would have to determine if day or night shifts would be the most effective.
The resolution as originally drafted specified the substation be built in the Third Ward. Councilman at Large Bernard Hamilton questioned the placement, suggesting that Bloomfield Center would be a better location.
The original resolution pegged the annual cost of maintaining the substation at $375,000. The resolution putting the non-binding question on the ballot passed 6-1 with Hamilton providing the only dissenting vote.