Bridgeton Launches Mobile Police Substation

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Bridgeton Police Substation Mobile cumberland county 2017 ?BRIDGETON, N.J. — When it comes to preventing crime at the local level, there are some basic strategies but in most neighborhoods, it starts with having a police presence. That presence mostly comes through patrols, but for neighborhood “hot spots”, the idea of a police substation has always had its appeal.

But what happens, after spending money creating a substation at a fixed location, when that hot spot is no longer quite as hot or moves to another neighborhood? That’s where the mobile substation comes into play; rather than being confined to one spot, police can move around as the need arises.

The mobile approach came out of discussions between Mayor Albert Kelly, Police Chief Michael Gaimari, and Business Administrator Stephanie Bush-Baskette on the need for additional tools to address crime overall and specifically “hot spots” where, according to Chief Gaimari, there’s an increase in criminal activity.

“We have a couple of locations in the city where the number of serious incidents is substantially higher and we felt a mobile substation may be the best approach,” Gaimari said, “the unit will not be out every day or all day and night due to available manpower, but we will be able to strategically deploy the unit to areas in the city where we have determined such need based on prior activity or from information developed through investigations pertaining to possible future incidents.”

The mobile substation is a box-truck type unit that was initially transferred over to the police department from the fire department several years ago and was primarily used as a major crime scene command post in situations where officers needed to be stationed at certain locations for long periods of time. As a result, the truck was partially equipped for police use when the decision was made to create the mobile substation and after reallocating some existing funds, the vehicle was outfitted with infrared camera monitoring equipment, computers and communication equipment that provides access to the department’s main headquarters, and some additional lighting. According to Gaimari, the upgrades came in at less than $2,500.

While the mobile substation will not be on the street full time due to staffing and other logistical considerations, it is partially the element of surprise and the need to be quick and responsive to the changing nature of the street that is most appealing to Kelly.

“A mobile substation has advantages over a building. For one thing, it puts the bad guys on notice that we’re here and we’re watching. The other advantage is that the mobile substation can move around as the bad guys move around in a neighborhood; also we don’t have to worry about problems normally associated with structures or the thing becoming obsolete” said Kelly.

In addition to taking an innovative approach to fighting crime in Bridgeton, Kelly is also mindful of costs and he believes that the plan mapped out by Chief Gaimari will easily provide a good return on investment.

“I want to thank Chief Gaimari for his innovative approach to problem-solving. Realizing that renovating a fixed-location substation or purchasing a newer mobile substation would range in costs from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, he improvised and came up with an affordable way to get us started. In the future, my hope is to find additional resources to expand this initiative” Kelly said.

For now, it will be a learning curve in finding out what works and what doesn’t work and making adjustments as they go.

“Our call volume and assignments will not allow us to have the mobile substation in operation as much as we would like, but it will be out there when we determine a need and know that it can be safely manned and operated,” Gaimari said.

In addition to fighting crime and cooling down the “hot spots”, both Kelly and Gaimari hope to use the new mobile substation at community-based events as part of a broader goal of increasing and improving police-community relations.

“Sometimes it is necessary to try new strategies and for the Bridgeton community, the mobile substation is that type of initiative and it will be one tool among several that should help improve things in our neighborhoods” said Kelly. The new mobile police substation is set to be unveiled on Tuesday, October 3rd at the Police & Municipal Court Complex located at 330 Fayette Street beginning at 3:30 p.m.

“A mobile substation has advantages over a building. For one thing, it puts the bad guys on notice that we’re here and we’re watching. The other advantage is that the mobile substation can move around as the bad guys move around in a neighborhood; also we don’t have to worry about problems normally associated with structures or the thing becoming obsolete” said Kelly.

In addition to taking an innovative approach to fighting crime in Bridgeton, Kelly is also mindful of costs and he believes that the plan mapped out by Chief Gaimari will easily provide a good return on investment.

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“I want to thank Chief Gaimari for his innovative approach to problem-solving. Realizing that renovating a fixed-location substation or purchasing a newer mobile substation would range in costs from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, he improvised and came up with an affordable way to get us started. In the future, my hope is to find additional resources to expand this initiative” Kelly said.

For now, it will be a learning curve in finding out what works and what doesn’t work and making adjustments as they go.

“Our call volume and assignments will not allow us to have the mobile substation in operation as much as we would like, but it will be out there when we determine a need and know that it can be safely manned and operated,” Gaimari said.

In addition to fighting crime and cooling down the “hot spots”, both Kelly and Gaimari hope to use the new mobile substation at community-based events as part of a broader goal of increasing and improving police-community relations.

“Sometimes it is necessary to try new strategies and for the Bridgeton community, the mobile substation is that type of initiative and it will be one tool among several that should help improve things in our neighborhoods” said Kelly.

The new mobile police substation is set to be unveiled on Tuesday, October 3rd at the Police & Municipal Court Complex located at 330 Fayette Street beginning at 3:30 p.m.

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