Hoboken officials questioned if non-operational surveillance cameras along the waterfront can weaken the counterterrorism efforts of the police force, which some feel is a legitimate concern since Manhattan is just across the Hudson River.
According to Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante, he has employed two sergeants to be liaisons to the Counterterrorism Task Force of the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security.
Ferrante, who also recently attended the Operation Sentry: A Counterterrorism Coalition conference in New York – hosted by NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau – says Hoboken police remain vigilante.
“We are very, very proactive daily.”
However, when Hoboken 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti asked about the security surveillance cameras along the waterfront, which were supposed to be replaced via a resolution approved by the City Council in late April of last year, it seems Hoboken remains vulnerable.
The contract was with Millennium Communications Group Inc. to replace 10 non-operational cameras, two of which were located on the waterfront for a total of $177,000, with a $154,000 grant from the Port Authority Security Grant program that would be used to partially pay for the equipment.
The city also issued an additional $15,000 to the group this past August for “additional unforeseen goods and services under the contract for security surveillance products and installations.”
Security cameras has been an issue since 2010 for the Hoboken waterfront area and surveillance footage would’ve been vital in April 2014 in the disappearance of Hoboken resident Andrew Jarzyk, as well as two other men, who drowned off of Pier C.
Unfortunately, the two cameras along the waterfront were, and still remain, non-operational.
“There are six that are on, but they are not operational yet,” Ferrante also said at Monday’s council meeting.
He also had issues with a few of the camera images and will be meeting with the vendor on Tuesday next week to address the problem.
Occhipinti also questioned the number of surveillance cameras in the city.
“I thought there were more than eight?” asking Business Administrator Wiest for some clarification.
According to Wiest, due to the new Public Safety Engineering contract that was recently awarded, the best options for technology for the cameras, the strategic location of cameras and the number of cameras placed in the city will all be discussed on Monday with Public Safety.
The kickoff call regarding the scope of the contract will also include communications with the police department in terms of radio and also having closed circuit televisions (CCTV).
Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman was not pleased finding out about the nonoperational cameras and the amount of money the city has already spent to give Hoboken residents a better sense of security.
“ I’m a little disappointed that as a councilmember, we are finding out about this by piecemeal” said Mason.
“There is a mess in the back of this that needs cleaning up.”