Township Committee mourns Eric Hatke, announces deer hunt, updates police mission

Eric Hatke

Mayor Michael Ruger opened the Hopewell Township Committee meeting September 5 by honoring Eric Hatke, Chair of the Zoning Board, who passed away last week.

“He served the Township for many years, including serving on the zoning board,” said Ruger. “He did an outstanding job and he is an example of how all citizens can help the Township run, because without people like Eric, we would not be able to do the jobs we do.”

Deputy Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning added her condolences to the Hatke family and reminded the audience that all of the volunteers are human beings and called for civility in the way that we talk to each other and how we treat each other. Peters-Manning was seemingly referring to a July zoning board meeting, where emotions ran high. In honor of Hatke, the Township Committee observed a moment of silence.

Fabrow Drive

Township Administrator George Snyder shared that the Fabrow Drive speed study concluded and that traffic calming measures or lowering the speed limit are not recommended, which mirrored the results of the first study which was conducted in 2021. Fabrow is a side street that connects Bear Tavern Road and Washington Crossing – Pennington Road, which makes it appealing as a cut-through if there is traffic on the main thoroughfares.

Deer Hunt

“Deer hunting starts on Saturday, September 9,” said Peters-Manning. “Please abide by all posted signs if you are walking on the trails. Woolsey Park, for example, does have deer hunting all week except for Sundays and Mondays. There ae two days in November and December when hunting is allowed on Mondays. Please just look for the signs if you are hiking in the woods.”


Peters-Manning announced that the Senior Picnic has been postponed to the rain date of September 14 due to extreme heat.

The Township committee approved resolutions appointing Jackie Walker as a financial assistant in the finance department and appointing Kathleen Ronollo as a community development assistant in the community development department.

Police Mission

Chief James J. Rosso previously approached the committee about changing the mission statement of the Hopewell Police Department. Rosso completed the update of the mission statement, which was read into the record by Peters-Manning.

“I thought it was important to actually read the details of this,” said Peters-Manning. “Because I think the mission and values of the department, I think Chief Rosso a fantastic job of setting that forth and instilling that in the department. This is something that any community would really do well to abide by.”

The new mission reads:

Mission Statement:

Through collaborative efforts and partnerships, the Hopewell Township Police Department serves as guardians to the Hopewell Valley community by enforcing the law, maintaining order, and protecting the lives, property, and rights of all people. We shall carry out our duties with reverence for human life and with compassion and respect for everyone.

Integrity – We recognize integrity is the foundation of Community trust. We will demonstrate ethical and honest behavior, which is a critical requirement for each member of this department. Do the right thing, especially when no one is looking.

Empathy – We value our relationships and respect the differences, opinions, perspectives and beliefs of others. By our ability to see a situation from another’s perspective, we are able to reduce conflict and find solutions.

Accountability – We are accountable to each other and to the people we serve. This will be achieved through oversight and transparency. We understand the importance of accountability in maintaining public trust and confidence in our department.

Respect – We will treat all people with dignity and respect. In order to get respect, we must give respect. We must give in order to receive.

Service – This profession is one of service. Service to others and the community for which we took an oath to guard and protect. One we do not take lightly.  

Our vision is to create an environment, through a partnership with our community, where people are free to live their lives safe from fear of crime, and confident in the fact that we will be there when they need us.

Next meeting

The Committee adjourned to enter executive session on matters concerning litigation, real estate, and personnel. The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for September 18.

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