New Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair Anthony Vainieri (D-8) discussed a safety plan that would include hiring officers specifically to patrol the parks, as well as building a James J. Braddock statue in the county park named after him.
“We have investments that we’re doing in our parks. We’re looking at bringing in a police academy in Hudson County that we’ve never had, we’re gonna explore that with a committee,” Vainieri stated during an interview with Hudson County View.
“We’re looking at either class II special police officers or park police to patrol our parks so our sheriff officers can get back to patrol on the boulevard, where most of our accidents have been doing [sic] with tragedies and we can’t afford to lose anymore children on the boulevard anymore.”
Since 11-year-old George Gonzalez was killed by a jitney bus back in October, activists and elected officials have been putting their heads together to try and make John F. Kennedy Boulevard a safer place.
Vainieri added that getting more sheriff’s officers back on patrol is a top priority for the entire board, something that will be discussed at Tuesday’s public safety committee.
According to Vainieri, Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise have already expressed their support for the new public safety initiative.
“It’s only a matter of hiring people: we have to figure out how we have to hire them, where we’re gonna put them, if they need [any] training whatsoever. Usually they’re retired officers or officers waiting to be hired that just came out of the academy.”
When asked if there were any North Bergen-centric issues on Vainieri’s 2017 agenda, he revealed that he is working on getting a James J. Braddock statue erected at the park that bears his name.
“We’re doing a $4 million project around the lake, we’re replacing the lake wall with paths. And the biggest thing, that I haven’t mentioned yet, is that we just explored and started forming plans for a statue of James J. Braddock.”
He continued that the board has already picked a location for the legendary boxer to be enshrined, but declined to reveal any further details just yet.
Vainieri was unanimously (8-0) approved as the new chairman of the freeholder board at yesterday’s regularly scheduled reorganization meeting, which no surprise given that he was the vice chair last year.
Jersey City Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2), last year’s board pro tempore, was upgraded to vice chair, while West New York Freeholder Caridad Rodriguez (D-7) became the latest freeholder pro tempore.
Both those votes were unanimous was well, with Harrison Freeholder Al Cifelli (D-9) voting over the phone and Bayonne Freeholder Kenny Kopacz (D-1) absent.