Commissioners approve sheriff’s office plan to absorb park police – Morris County, NJ

Posted on October 27, 2021

Park patrols will be improved, park officers will become sheriff officers

The Morris County Council of Commissioners adopted this evening a resolution authorizing the Morris County Park Police be absorbed in the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, a move that will keep the 29 park officers on staff and allow for an increase in overall park patrols.

The resolution follows a vote Monday by the Morris County Park Commission to merge the state’s last county police department with the sheriff’s office. The Park Commission, which operates on revenue from park-related recreation and funding provided annually by the county, remains a stand-alone agency and approved the plan before any action could be voted on by Morris County commissioners. .

“I am very honored to attend the union of these two very sophisticated law enforcement agencies in Morris County. The park officers are among the best. The sheriff’s office and the park police already work together on a regular basis. This change will provide new opportunities for park police personnel as well as sheriff officers, and it is in the best interests of the people of Morris County, ”said Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon.

The merger was prompted by concerns about the insurance coverage of park officers. It brings the park policy into line with the insurance coverage available to all other New Jersey law enforcement officers, particularly in terms of coverage in the event of legal proceedings relating to the performance of their duties by a agent.

“The park police have done an exemplary job in protecting the public, park staff and the 39 county park facilities, and although the county has sought for years to amalgamate the park police with the sheriff’s office, the events of recent years make this transition prudent and timely. This structural change, coupled with appropriate funding, will provide county parks with increased safety and security, ”said The Chairman of the Parks Commission, Stuart Lasser.

The change will take effect on January 1, 2022, when the park police are part of the Sheriff’s Office of Law Enforcement, which is made up of 90 members.

“This is a plan that will improve park operations. The sheriff plans to add several agents to strengthen the patrols of the park. The Park System is the largest county park system in the state and is an integral part of the quality of life we ​​strive to maintain in Morris County. This consolidation will ensure that this important resource continues to be safe and enjoyable for all of our residents, ”said Commissioner Director Stephen H. Shaw.

The Morris County Park System, with over 20,000 acres of parkland, is New Jersey County’s largest park system. Visited by nearly 4 million people each year, it offers 39 facilities, including historic sites, golf courses, outdoor educational and recreational facilities, an arboreta, conservation areas, 216 miles of trails and an ice rink. .

Park activities operate year round, requiring a police presence to ensure the safety of visitors and park employees.

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