Hamilton Street Advisory Committee Talks Safety, Creates Three Committees

The Hamilton Street Advisory Board at its Sept. 8 meeting created three committees members hope will foster the group’s work.

The committees formed were marketing, safety and zoning, although no one volunteered to chair the marketing committee.

Member Dean Adi suggested the committees be formed so that work in those certain areas could be fast-tracked, and not bogged down by prolonged discussions among the entire group.

The committee was former to advise the Township Council in the latter’s efforts to bolster the Hamilton Street business district.

Chief on the minds of members at the meeting was public safety. Township Police Det. Kenneth Daly, in response to an earlier request from the committee, told members that hiring police officers to do security work in the business district would cost between $45 and $63 an hour.

Community policing-type duties – in which an officer would regularly patrol Hamilton Street – would cost $45 an hour, Daly said.

Enforcement actions, such as stopping cars going through stop signs or issuing parking summonses – would boost the rate to $63 an hour, he said.

Day suggested the committee might want to hire an officer for two hours of policing work and two hours of enforcement work per day.

“That way you get a little bit of both” he said.

He said the officer hired “wouldn’t be pulled off the road for any reason,” but, if an arrest had to be made, he would have to go to police headquarters for a time for processing.

Committee chairman Pat Gianotto said that his vision was for the township to pay for extra security for the district, based on past experience of hiring police officers for the area.

“Last time we were trying to prove a point to the township that that’s what we need to do,” he said. “We did that to show the council, ‘hey, it works. This is what you need to do to protect the people who live there, who work there and who shop there’.”

“I’ve heard for years that they don’t have the money,” Gianotto said. “It’s time for somebody to step up.”

Deputy Mayor Brian Regan said they he could not guarantee that the township could foot the bill “right now.”

“I think the (Township Council’s) public safety committee would be the place to have that conversation,” he said.

Township manager Bob Vornlocker said that the police presence in the Hamilton Street corridor is “by far” greater than in any part of the township.

Making the area safer is “not just a matter of putting a police officer there,” he said.

Vornlocker said the council does not tell Police Chief Lawrence Roberts “how to run his police department.”

“What we scan do is identify what resources we have and decide what we can do in the future to increase our presence on Hamilton Street,” he said.

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