Garwood Police Alerts and Updates
The Garwood Police Department
Phone: 908-789-1500

Current updates and alerts for the Borough of Garwood


403 South Avenue 
Garwood, NJ 07027
Chief James Wright
EMERGENCY DIAL 911
Fax: 908-789-2804
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​NON-Emergency only

Garwood Police Alerts and Updates

Chief Underhill Retires after 30 Years In Garwood

by Garwood Police Department on 03/24/17

In a few weeks Spring will have sprung and the community will begin to bloom once again.  This is also true for the Garwood Police Department.  2017 will be yet another marker year for the Police Department with several personnel changes and promotions.  Retirements and resignations are the driving force behind this change.   Springtime is known as a time for "rebirth", and so it will be for the Department.

Dispatcher Cassandra Crooks has decided to leave us for economic reasons, moving on to greener pastures.  We will miss her and wish her the best in her new position.  The process to fill her vacancy has begun.  School Guard Lauren Montagne has also decided to leave us and move on to retirement.  Lauren was with us a total of 9 years and will be missed.  We wish her smooth sailing as she enters this phase of her life.  Victoria Kearney was advanced from her Alternate School Guard position to fill the vacancy.  Victoria lives in town with her husband Vincent and their children and we welcome her to our staff.   Officer Roberto Camporeale was hired to fill the vacancy created by Chiefs Underhill's planned retirement.  "Rob" previously served 9 years as a Sheriff's Officer with the Hudson County Sheriff's Office where he was a highly trained and respected officer.  Officer Camporeale is married and he and his wife Maria are expecting their first child.  We also welcome him to our team and hope that everyone takes the opportunity to meet and greet him.

Personally, having reached 30+ years as a Garwood Police Officer (the last 6 as Chief), I have decided to retire.  It gives me great pleasure to know that my entire career in law enforcement has been spent with, and dedicated to, the Borough of Garwood.  Growing up just over the border in Westfield, I always considered Garwood my adopted town.  I'd like to thank the residents and business owners for the opportunity to serve the community and the honor of becoming the ninth Chief of Police in the Borough of Garwood.

I have had the pleasure of serving under five of Garwood's prior Chiefs and can say that I learned something from each one of them and that they each left a positive mark on the Department.  It is every Chiefs desire to carry on the progress while protecting and serving the community.  I was fortunate to inherit a stable Department that was in a "good place" and I believe I leave it now in an even better place. 

Almost immediately after assuming office six years ago, the department was met with the challenges of Hurricane Irene, followed by a Halloween Ice Storm in October 2011 and then Super Storm Sandy in 2012.  It was apparent that several areas needed to be addressed to better provide for public safety during such events.  The Emergency Operations Plan was updated and several related equipment needs were addressed.  Grants were found to offset costs and additional equipment totaling approximately half a million dollars was obtained via the Federal 1033 LESO program - at no cost.     

One of my main goals was to make the Department more user friendly for the residents and community.  Social media seemed the best way to start and so the Police Department now maintains our own web site, Garwoodpd.org which was created and constructed by Captain Stoffer for the Department - well done!  This site enables residents to not only contact us, but to access many forms necessary to conduct various police related business.  The Alerts and Updates page is kept current and we post a wealth of information on it, particularly during emergencies such as severe weather incidents.  Users can also access the site and learn about the Department by reading not only the sites pages, but our End Of Year Reports which we began in 2014 and post on the site.  The Police Department uses our site to get information out to the public in conjunction with NIXLE, UC First Alert, and Twitter.  Due to heightened exposure  to computer viruses, the Department does not maintain a Facebook account for informational purposes.  We also expanded our Community Policing program making greater efforts to increase face time with our residents.  Along that line, we reestablished our Bicycle Patrol program to be more visible and accessible.

In 2015, the Dispatch Center under went a complete makeover.  Having updated the 911 system and radio repeaters a year prior, it was time to address the original 1980's vintage console which was replaced with new radio equipment adding two dispatch terminals for redundancy.  All the support equipment such as our recorders and peripherals were replaced.   On and offsite CCTV was installed, and a multitude of cosmetic improvements were made to make the most of the small space we occupy.  2016 saw the addition of a dedicated interview room to assist with mandated statement taking.  The construction of a space dedicated to just the processing of our "guests" assisted in preparing us for the requirements mandated by the 2014 Bail Reform Act.  Additionally, an office was established for use by the shift supervisor to accomplish supervisory tasks without distraction.  Again a special thanks to Captain Stoffer who both led and assisted me with these construction improvements - again at no cost to the Borough.

Due to increasing call volume (over 21,000 calls for service in 2015), an additional man was reassigned to supplement the Detective Division, and we also established a dedicated traffic Division manned by a trained traffic investigator.  With the increase in Active Shooter incidents nationally, the departments weapons platform was upgraded and hands on training instituted.  Training was emphasized with all personnel having been assigned or having the opportunity to attend training related to field operations, tactical operations, law enforcement theory, supervisory management and police administration, to name a few.

So as I end my tour as Chief, I know the Department is up to date, the staff is well educated and our officers are dedicated to our stated mission.  Through the years the residents of Garwood have enjoyed a tremendous return on their investment in terms of their Police Department.  Garwood enjoys the services of a 21st century, professional law enforcement agency capable of meeting the challenges of the future.  Again, I thank you all for the opportunity and honor of serving the Borough of Garwood and leading the men and women of the Garwood Police Department.  Health and happiness to all!

WINTER WEATHER WARNING

by Garwood Police Department on 03/13/17

A strong offshore low will produce significant snowfall for NJ Monday night into Tuesday.  A blizzard warning is in effect for eastern counties in NJ from 8PM today to Tuesday night.  Impact to NJ as follows:

Snow will be heaviest late Monday night and Tuesday morning with snow accumulation rates of 2-4" per hour on Tuesday.  Heavy snow will impede travel through Tuesday.  Snow & Wind may cause downed trees and power lines.  Winds of 15-30 mph are possible with gusts of 35-50 mph possible especially along the coast.  Minor to moderate costal flooding is possible Tuesday Am.

Important ... NS garbage pickup for Tuesday March 14 has been cancelled.

Reminder, vehicles must be removed from the roadway after three inches have accumulated.  This will occur during the overnight hours so plan ahead.  Check with the Police Dispatch Desk 908 789-1500 for additional parking that may be available (no guarantees).  Sidewalks must be cleared all the way to the corners within 24 hours.  Please do not throw snow into the roadway.  Pace yourselves and you clear snow.  Take breaks and drink plenty of water.  Be sure to stock up on water, food and gas for snow blowers or generators in advance.  Do not use generators indoors.

 

Beware of Illegal Solicitations

by Garwood Police Department on 03/04/17

The Police Department has received several complaints regarding companies soliciting residents for Solar Companies.  Field agent for these companies are representing themselves as agents of the State and are requesting to see a residents electrical meters  They state that the State will be changing all meters.  To the best of our knowledge this is not true. 

Police responded to a complaint of a suspicious person and spoke to an agent of Trinity Solar who was soliciting Solar accounts without a permit.  Their ID tags represent them as agents of the Board of Utilities, and this particular individual misrepresented his purpose and agency affiliation.  Trinity Solar is a legitimate solar sales company, however, they have not obtained a permit to solicit in Garwood. 

Additionally, and unrelated to these energy solicitations, is a professional solicitation company called Flying Flyers.  This company distributes advertising for companies for a fee.  They do this going door to door leaving door hangers.  In Garwood a permit is needed for this purpose and Flying Flyers has NOT been issued a permit to do this in Garwood. Residents who observe such activity or receive unwanted solicitations should call the Dispatch Center (789-1500) and report  the activity.

While illegal solicitors are usually legitimate companies who are just conducting business without the proper local permit, residents should always be aware of scam artists who prey on residents via distraction or fraud.  NEVER invite unknown people into your home unless you have made an appointment with a known vender for a specific purpose.  ALAWAYS look for or request personal and corporate identification.  DO NOT allow yourself to be distracted for lengthy periods of time at the front door or in your home. 

When in doubt - call the Dispatch Center and request Police response.   Obtaining identification information or a license plate number for the individual is always a big help but above all, always think safety for you and your family.

 

St Patricks Greetings From The Garwood Police

by Garwood Police Department on 02/16/17

Call a Taxi Before You Turn Green!

Between 2011 and 2015 252 died in car crashes during

the St Patrick's Day holiday.

Buzzed driving IS drunk driving!

South Side Garbage Pickup is Cancelled

by Garwood Police Department on 02/08/17

The south side garbage pick up for Thursday is cancelled due to the anticipated snow. Regular pick up will resume next week.

Snow Emergency Parking

by Garwood Police Department on 02/08/17

A winter storm warning is in effect for late tonight and to continue through Thursday night.  Heavy snow accumulations are expected.  All vehicles must be removed from the roadway to allow for plowing – no exceptions.  Any vehicle left on the roadway will be ticketed and possibly towed in accordance with LO 21-6. For further information or questions, contact Police HQ at 908-789-1500.

South Avenue & Center Street Traffic Light Uplift

by Garwood Police Department on 01/30/17

The new Traffic Light at South Avenue and Center Street has finally been installed.  Please note that the left turn arrows for North & West  bound traffic have been eliminated.  In those directions, traffic makes the turn with the regular green light.  The Lights have a backing that will drastically cut down on sun glare in the late afternoon and allow better visibility when approaching the lights.  The stop lines for both lanes at the intersection will be moved back slightly with a greater regress for the left turn lane.  This will allow for truck traffic to better maneuver through their turns.

The poles & pedestrian walk / don't walk signs where chosen to compliment our decorative street light decor.  The sidewalks will be restored with concrete and the decorative bricks once the weather breaks.  In the mean time, the Chief of Police has requested that the construction zone be completely back filled with black top for pedestrian safety. 

Please let us know if you experience any problems with intersection. 

  

 

Burrr - Time for the Wood Burning Stove or Fireplace!

by Garwood Police Department on 12/12/16

 

With colder weather and the holidays approaching, the Department of Environmental Protection reminds residents to practice safety and take steps to reduce the impact burning wood has on air quality in their homes and neighborhoods.

"Burning wood whether in fireplaces, wood burning stoves or outdoor boilers, can help reduce energy costs and add cozy ambience to any home as the weather turns colder" according to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, "but burning wood can also produce small particles and other pollutants that can be significantly reduced with some common-sense practices, better protecting your health as well as your neighbors' and creating a climate for a safer, more enjoyable season."     

For some people, even short-term exposure to wood smoke can aggravate heart or lung conditions.  Children, teen agers, older adults and people with lung disease such as Asthma, COPD or heat disease are more susceptible to the effects of wood smoke   

 

The DEP recommends the following these guidelines when burning wood at home.

  • Burn only seasoned wood.  Seasoning means allowing wood to sit outdoors for at least 6 months before burning it.  This allows the moisture to evaporate and burn more efficiently.  Seasoned wood is darker and has cracks in it.  It sounds hollow when hit with an object.  Wood burns most efficiently when the moisture content is below 20 percent.
  • Stack cut wood off the ground and cover the top with a tarp to protect from rain & snow.  Keep stacked wood away from the house or fire pit to avoid insects or sparks from igniting the stack.
  • Start fires with newspaper and kindling.  Keep fire hot and remove ashes to allow for airflow.
  • Never burn garbage, plastic, wrapping material, painted or treated wood in your fireplace.
  • Keep all flammable items away from your fireplace and keep a charges fire extinguisher near by in case of emergency.
  • Have chimneys cleaned regularly by a certified chimney sweep.  Nearly 7% of house fires are caused by the build up of creosote in the chimney.  Signs of a chimney fire are flames coming out the top of the chimney or the sound of a freight train coming from the chimney.
  • Consider using a HEPA filters in the same room as the fireplace.  This can reduce indoor particle pollution by as much as 60%.  
  • State and some municipal regulations may prohibit visible smoke being emitted from a wood stove or boiler.  Check with your local authority.

For more information on wood burning in New Jersey, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/baqp/woodburning.html

For more on the EPA’s Burnwise program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/

 

Speed Signs Posted

by Garwood Police Department on 11/11/16

In an effort to reduce the speeds on several of the Boroughs backstreets, portable speed advisory signs have been placed in the most active areas.  Although  statistics gathered over recent years do no indicate a sustained speeding problem, residents have still voiced concerns over some motorists that speed through town.

The Police Department is currently waiting to receive grant money applied for to cover the cost of solar powered feed back radar signs for several areas around the Borough.  In the mean time The Department has purchased portable traffic bollards which display the posted speed limit and the message "Slow Down" on a highly reflective backing.  These bollards are currently being displayed on the 400 block of Fourth Avenue, the 10 block of Second Avenue and the 400 and 500 blocks of Spruce Avenue.  Additional signs have been placed on Center Street as well.   

Chief Underhill reports that "initial data obtained since installation, indicates a 5-8 mph decrease in speed.  Because these bollards are portable, we can move them as needed to calm traffic where problems are detected.  Additionally, this is an economical way to address our issues without having to take drastic steps such as installing Speed Bumps or Humps.  Resident s should be aware that these traffic bollards are in the roadway and use caution."

The Garwood Police ask that residents please drive carefully, buckle up and obey the speed limit.  We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Fall Is In The Air

by Garwood Police Department on 10/27/16

Autumn has arrived and the temperatures are dropping.  So as you set your clocks back on Sunday November 6th please remember the following safety tips:

  • Change the batteries in your smoke / CO2 detectors.
  • Be careful walking & driving on wet leaves 
  • The sun is lower in the sky - be prepared for sun glare when driving.
  • Keep a close eye on your fire pits and always use the spark screen.
  • Detach and drain garden hoses. 

The annual Lions Club Halloween Parade will be held on Monday the 31st at 7:00pm.  Center Street will be closed to traffic from Willow to South at 6:00pm.  Participants will gather on Center in the area of Houghton Plaza (Municipal Lot #1) at 6:30 and the parade will begin at 7pm sharp heading toward Lincoln School for the costume judging contest.  Center street will be reopened immediately after the parade clears the area.

There are no set hours for trick or treating - common sense prevails.  Please be respectful of your neighbors and their property.  Cross at corners where cars expect you to be and wear brighter costumes with large eye holes.  Masks should be removed when entering any business and please refrain from wearing any "creepy clown" costumes.  The Garwood Police will be out and visibly, looking after your kids and for those ghouls who might be out doing mischief.  Be aware and "Quote the Raven - Nevermore"!