Home » Hopewell Township Committee addresses safety concerns

Hopewell Township Committee addresses safety concerns

by Cat Jackson

The January 8 meeting of the Hopewell Township Committee opened with the swearing in of two new patrol officers for the Hopewell Township police department: Collin Brigham and Brandon Kuzma. Chief of Police James Rosso was present for the swearing in, and his presence was very welcome later on, when the meeting opened to public comment.

Safety Concerns

Many Hopewell Township residents were in attendance, both in person and virtually, to discuss the recent rash of thefts. There have been several incidents in the past month, including a theft on Baker Way where the thief entered a house in order to take the key fob of a car. Residents were asking what they could safely and legally do to protect themselves from further crimes. In addition, they brought up the lack of lighting; several residents asked that the Township install more streetlamps in the affected neighborhoods. More than one commenter was afraid that the success of these thieves would increase the chance of later attempts. The home invasion on Baker Way was especially frightening to many commenters. Theft of property is certainly a serious issue, some said, but if a later break-in leads to a confrontation between a robber and a resident, then someone might be injured.

Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning turned questions directly over to Rosso. He assured citizens that the police force has added an extra patrol through the affected streets, and that police were driving by after midnight in the hopes of preventing another incident. He would like all citizens who have home security cameras to be aware of the camera partner program, which gives the police access to these cameras and can be very helpful in the case of a break-in. Rosso offered to host a future meet-and-greet to discuss investigative techniques and home safety with all members of the public.

Also during public comment, resident Connor Luff raised a pedestrian safety issue. Students at Hopewell Valley Central High School regularly walk to school along Pennington-Harbourton Road, where there is no sidewalk and where cars habitually speed. He hoped that a grant might be acquired to build a sidewalk along the stretch of road between the high school and Burd/Scotch Road (the two roads run into each other at Pennington-Harbourton).

Peters-Manning said that the Police Department would schedule a speed study as the first step to making any changes. She also drew attention to a walking/biking trail that starts at the corner of Scotch Road and Pennington Harbourton, set behind the road-facing properties, leading to the back of Timberland Middle School. Provided this trail is adequate to serve the needs of the track team and schoolchildren, she said she hopes that publicizing this resource will discourage pedestrians from walking along the road.

Start of Back Timberlane bike trail at the corner of Burd and Pennington Harbourton. The paved trail winds through the athletic fields to the back of Timberlane Middle School. (Photo from Google Earth).
Budgeting, appointments, and other reports

The Committee read and passed a number of resolutions related to staffing and budgets. Included in this was a dramatic increase in the salary of the Board of Fire Commissioners. The Committee wanted to acknowledge that the salaries have not been increased since 2005; ideally, compensation should be regularly reviewed and adjusted to avoid dramatic changes in salaries.

The Committee formally accepted the resignation of David Berez, an administrator who has served on the Citizens Equity Advisory Committee, and who has been offered a scholarship for Masters’ studies at Princeton. William E. Mullen III has been appointed the Emergency Management coordinator.

Construction of the Woolsey Park band shell is now complete. A walking path needs to be built before it can be used, and some landscaping will be done to restore the park.

January is Radon Action Month. Radon is a naturally occurring pollutant that greatly increases the chance of cancer. Radon can be present in any home, even when nearby homes do not have high concentrations of it. While radon is inexpensive to identify and clean up, a large percentage of homes have not been tested for it at all. The Township Committee encourages all Hopewell residents to test their homes for radon.

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Contact us: [email protected] 

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