HAMMONTON – Police Chief Robert Jones addressed the Hammonton Rotary Club about police department initiatives during the club’s weekly meeting at Rocco’s Townhouse Thursday, Feb. 24.
Jones, who has been chief less than two months since the retirement of long-time Chief Frank Ingemi, outlined some of the strategies he is implementing and how things are going so far.
He said the department’s Safe Streets program uses plain clothes officers and unmarked vehicles to go after the narcotics problem, adding recent undercover efforts resulted in several arrests.
“In about a month and a half it’s produced about 15 arrests for narcotics,” the 25-year police officer said. “We’re looking to do a lot of out-of-the-box different things, trying to keep the officers motivated and try to keep the town safe.”
He also said there were four arrests for underage drinking, motor vehicle summonses have doubled in one month, and arrest totals went up 40 percent in one month.
“So far it’s been real successful,” he said. “I’ve got to commend the officers I work with; they’ve been outstanding.”
He said equipment and technology are part of the strategy including a new system that will let officers swipe a driver’s license the way a credit card is swiped, and a new undercover vehicle that has been donated by local business.
Jones said he wants to increase the department’s involvement in the community. He mentioned a program now under discussion that, with the support local businesses, the Rotary Club and other service groups, would identify, police and clean up graffiti areas in town.
Jones also acknowledged the support of the Hammonton Rotary Club which donated $6,000 to the department last year toward the purchase of a new k-9 dog. The dog is expected to be finished with his training in 10 weeks. Jones a former k-9 officer, said the dog’s training is going well.
Jones said the department is willing to try some new things to keep the town safe.
“Not everything will work,” he said. “If something doesn’t work we’ll scrap it and try something else.”
Thursday’s meeting included attendance by members of the Hammonton Lions Club, Women’s Civic Club and Sons of Italy. Hammonton’s newest councilman, Michael Torrissi, was also in attendance.