PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen County law enforcement authorities unveiled a pair of quick-response units Wednesday morning to enhance both public and law enforcement safety -- particularly in instances when every second matters.
Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal, Sheriff Michael Saudino and members of the county Police Chiefs Association obtained the vehicles for the Bergen County Regional SWAT team. Both were to begin operating immediately, they said.
The vehicles -- one stationed at the north end of the county, the other in the south -- will:
- respond to critical incidents: active shooters, barricaded subjects or hostage situations;
- back up local police departments in incidents that range from domestic violence to high-risk motor vehicle stops to shots fired;
- float throughout the county, checking on critical infrastructure and "soft targets" -- schools, public utilities, etc.
"What happened yesterday in New York City shows the value of these," Upper Saddle River Police Chief Patrick Rotella said. "I know of no other county that has something like this."
“The goal here is to have these new units serve as a force multiplier for our local departments to ensure officer safety when responding to dangerous calls for service,” said Grewal, the prosecutor. “Such a response will be of particular benefit to our smaller, as well as our busier departments, both of which sometimes have fewer officers to respond to potentially dangerous calls for service."
“Experience shows that a direct and immediate response by multiple, tactically trained and equipped officers greatly increases the safety of civilians, including suspects, and officers,” said Saudino, the sheriff. “These mobile units will provide for a quicker response by RST officers and are another example of how we are proactive here in Bergen County."
Bought with money forfeited by criminals, the trucks will be staffed by members of the Regional SWAT team -- two per truck -- which is overseen by the prosecutor and sheriff. They'll operate Monday through Saturday, 12 hours a day.The Regional SWAT team -- known as the "RST" -- has 55 officers from the prosecutor’s and sheriff’s offices and 24 Bergen County municipal police departments.
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