TRENTON – Bergen County taxpayers are spending too much money on county-level police, according to a bill submitted by Sen. Gerald Cardinale, (R-39), Demarest.
Cardinale announced a bill that would consolidate certain county police departments with their respective county sheriff’s offices.
While the bill does not name Bergen County specifically, the legislation is worded to only affect the northern New Jersey county, consolidating the Bergen County Police Department into the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.
“The provision of countywide public safety services by two separate police agencies within a county is duplicative in nature and an inefficient and costly way to ensure the safety of the public,” according to the bill’s statement.
“Accordingly, the bill provides that any county police department in a county of the first class having a population of over 900,000, and a population density of less than 4,000 persons per square mile, which operates pursuant to N.J.S.40A:14-106, shall be terminated as an agency.”
Cardinale said in a press release that the bill would save taxpayers $17 million at the end of three years, citing Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino.
The bill provides that the salaries of current Bergen County police officers that are hired by the county sheriff’s office will be paid salaries approximately equal to their final Bergen County Police Department rate, according to a press release.
The sheriff will also assign new officers’ ranks correlating with their salaries, qualifications and duties.
The Bergen County Freeholders announced they will hold public hearings on the issue in June.