NBPD praised for diversity by Hispanic law enforcement organizations

The North Bergen Police Department “exceeds expectations” on diversity in its hiring and promotional practices, according to a departmental audit performed jointly by the National Coalition of Latino Officers and the Hispanic American Law Enforcement Association on behalf of the Latino Action Network, a civil rights organization focused on advocating for Hispanic communities.
Taking into account the department’s composition, community relations, hiring, promotions, and much more using data provided both by the department and by outside sources, the audit found the department to be a leading example of diversity in policing in New Jersey.
“A review of the Equal Employment Opportunity data indicates that the North Bergen Police Department exceeds our expectations in the hiring and promotions of Latinos,” said Antonio Hernandez, president of the NCLO. “The chief of police has implemented policies prohibiting racially influenced policing, commonly known has racial profiling. In addition, he has assigned Latino detectives to the Internal Affairs unit which enables the Spanish speaking community to file complaints with ease. The department practices a community policing philosophy and provides information to the community in the Spanish language. We find their efforts in this regard to be exemplary and worthy of praise.”
The North Bergen Police Department consists of 118 sworn officers, 55 percent of whom are Hispanic. In addition, 73 percent of new officers hired within the last three years are Hispanic and 41 percent of the department’s superior officers are Hispanic. Last year the department promoted two Hispanic officers to lieutenant, further bolstering the diversity of its superior officers. The department also hired five new officers, all of whom are Hispanic and also North Bergen residents. The township uses a resident-only hiring policy to ensure that civil service applicants are representative of the North Bergen community.
“Making sure that our police force is representative of the community it serves is tremendously important to Public Safety Commissioner Allen Pascual, Chief Robert Dowd, and I because we all recognize the need for people to feel comfortable and secure with the men and women sworn to protect them,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco.
“The Township of North Bergen Police Department appears to be conducting itself with great distinction and in fact exceeds our expectations in the area of hiring and promotional practices,” said Hernandez.

Tech help now available at the library

Purchasing a new computer? Maintaining your current PC? Want help with your electronic devices? Need general troubleshooting assistance? Are you just plain frustrated with the technology in your life? Let the library help you out.
Make an appointment today for one-on-one assistance with all your technology needs. Bilingual assistance is available Monday to Thursday between 4 and 8 p.m. at the North Bergen Public Library, 8411 Bergenline Ave. For more information call (201) 869-4715 or visit

Free vaccines to underinsured Guttenberg residents

Mayor Gerald Drasheff and the Town Council of Guttenberg in conjunction with the North Hudson Community Action Corporation are providing a free vaccine program. Vaccines will be provided for Hep B, Hep A, Tdap, Pneumovax 23, Prevnar 13, Meningococcal, Varicella, MMR, Zostavax (shingles, age 60 and over), HPV(ages 19-26), and flu (seasonal).
Must be a current resident of Guttenberg, ages 19 to 99, with proof of residence and picture identification. Must be uninsured or underinsured (current insurance does not cover vaccines).
Protect yourself and your family by participating in this program. Your participation contributes to a happier and healthier Guttenberg community.
Vaccines will be provided from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 25 and Monday, Feb. 22 in the 2nd Fl. courtroom of the Municipal Building, 6808 Park Ave.
For further information call Marisol Montanez at (201) 868-2315, ext. 152.

High Tech HS receives $20K grant from Verizon Innovative Schools Program

High Tech High School’s nationally recognized STEM program (science, technology, engineering, and math) received a funding boost thanks to a $20,000 grant from Verizon’s Innovative Schools Program. The occasion was marked with a ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at the school.
The funds will be used to support High Tech’s “Project Lead the Way” curriculum, which aims to prepare students for the cutting edge careers of tomorrow with a particular focus on biomedical technologies. Verizon Director of External Affairs Mark Bocchieri was on hand to officially present the check to Hudson County Schools of Technology Superintendent Frank Gargiulo and High Tech High School Principal Dr. Joseph Giammarella. The event was also attended by school district leaders and students in the school’s STEM program.
“We are extremely proud of our teachers and students in our school’s STEM program,” said Gargiulo. “These students will be the scientists, engineers, and doctors of tomorrow, and this grant will further aid them in their career pursuits.”
While the grant is very competitive and numerous schools apply for an award, only five schools are chosen throughout the state of New Jersey to receive the grant in a competitive application process that was spearheaded by HCST Board Secretary Joseph Muniz and his staff.
“We are so happy that our program was chosen for this grant,” said Biology and Biomedical Science teacher Priscilla Isip. “It will help with many aspects of our STEM program, including with equipment and field trips. In particular, we hope students can visit hospitals to meet with doctors and pathologists, as well as local police stations to meet with sheriffs and learn about their CSI investigations.”

Sacco-Sarlo bill to expand DNA database now law

In an effort to assist criminal investigations, legislation sponsored by state senators Nicholas Sacco and Paul Sarlo that would expand the state’s DNA database was signed into law by the governor.
“DNA matching is already an important tool for our law enforcement, but with this law, it has the potential to be a much more useful way to identify perpetrators,” said Sacco, who is also the mayor of North Bergen. “Expanding the DNA database will enhance the government’s ability to prevent crime, solve cases, and exonerate the innocent.”
The law, S-393, adds indictable disorderly person’s offenses to the list of criminal conduct that, upon conviction, requires biological sampling for the DNA database. These offenses include prostitution, domestic violence assault, and crimes related to narcotics and dangerous drugs. Shoplifting and marijuana possession offenses would not be included in the offenses requiring DNA sampling. Additionally, juveniles would also be required to submit to DNA testing if they commit an act that would fall under the provisions of the DNA Database and Databank Act, including those in this expansion.
Under the DNA Database and Databank Act of 1994, which was sponsored by Sacco and led to the creation of the state’s DNA Database, only a person convicted of an indictable crime of the first, second, third, or fourth degree, or a person arrested for certain violent crimes was required to submit to DNA sampling.
“Unfortunately we see high rates of repeat offenders enter and reenter our justice system, so when a person commits a minor crime, it’s possible they may commit something more serious in the future,” said Sarlo. “We can reduce crime in New Jersey overall by giving our law enforcement officials a greater capacity to identify repeat offenders. Expanding the DNA database will go a long way to solving open cases, bringing justice to those who are innocent, and preventing future crimes.”

Recreation football dinners are Jan. 30

Dinners for the Recreation Football Leagues will take place on Jan. 30 at the following locations.
At the Pop Warner Building, 6302 Meadowview Ave.:
– Little Giants football and Little Giants cheerleaders at 12 p.m.
– Rams football and Rams cheerleaders at 3 p.m.
– Red Raiders football and Red Raiders cheerleaders at 6 p.m.
At the Recreation Center, 6300 Meadowview Ave.:
– Packers, Cowboys, Patriots, Jets, Vikings, cheerleaders, and Pom Poms at 12:30 p.m.
– Giants football and Giants cheerleaders at 5 p.m. in the small gym
– Eagles football and Eagles cheerleaders at 5:30 p.m. in the big gym

See ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’ for free on Jan. 30

The Movie of the Month for December is “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” at the North Bergen Free Public Library, 8411 Bergenline Ave. Come see the film for free on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. Free refreshments will be provided. All ages are welcome. For more information call (201) 869-4715 or visit

Live comedy coming to the library on Feb. 6

Comedian Alonzo Bodden will be appearing at the North Bergen Public Library main branch on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. Admission to this fun-filled event is free. A winner on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Bodden has also appeared on The Tonight Show and Comedy Central. The library is at 8411 Bergenline Ave. For more information call (201) 869-4715 or visit

Recreation Dept. offers downtown sign-up, extended registration hours

North Bergen now offers downtown residents a convenient new location for Recreation Department sign-ups, as well as extended registration hours at the Recreation Center. Starting on Jan. 11, recreation sign-ups are available at the North Bergen Public Library’s Kennedy Branch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m. In addition, the township is offering extended sign-up hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Rec Center.
“With the busy schedules and hectic lives that so many local parents have, we felt it was important to make it as convenient as possible for them to sign their children up for the many wonderful sports programs and other activities available in the North Bergen Recreation Department,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Hugo Cabrera. “Sign-up forms for spring soccer and baseball teams are available now, and softball will soon follow next month. Our goal is always to get even more North Bergen children to participate in these programs, and we believe that this will be a major help.”
Opened in 2013, the Kennedy Branch library offers downtown residents access to the many educational and community programs available at the main library branch, as well as books, movies, and technology, without having to make the trip uptown. The Kennedy Branch is located at 2123 Kennedy Blvd. The Recreation Center is at 6300 Meadowview Ave.

Learn Bollywood dance at the library on Thursdays

Learn, move, and have fun at the same time at the North Bergen Free Public Library’s new Bollywood dance class on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., starting Jan. 28. Register at the reference desk. Proof of residency is required. The library is located at 8411 Bergenline Ave. For more information call (201) 869-4715 or visit

PSE&G customers can apply for payment assistance with winter heating bills

With chilly weather here, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) reminds customers that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is accepting applications for the 2015/2016 heating season. LIHEAP is a program run by the State of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs that helps low-income residents with their heating and medically-necessary cooling bills.
“We want low income families to know that help is available,” said Greg Dunlap, vice president of Customer Operations for PSE&G. “Under LIHEAP, those who are income eligible may receive an average of $300 toward their heating bills.”
LIHEAP eligibility is based solely on the prior month’s household gross income and household size. To be eligible for LIHEAP benefits, the applicant’s household gross income must meet specific monthly income guidelines. For more information, to download a LIHEAP application, or to find out where to apply, visit or call the New Jersey Home Energy Assistance hotline at (800) 510-3102. Applications are also available at PSE&G’s 16 walk-in Customer Service Centers. Applications and copies of all requested documents must be submitted by April 30.
The LIHEAP application is also an application for the Universal Service Fund (USF). USF is a program created by the State of New Jersey that can lower the amount low-income households pay for gas and electric bills with a monthly credit of $5 to $150. Applications for USF are accepted year-round. Seniors over age 65 or disabled adults collecting Social Security Disability may also be eligible for the New Jersey Lifeline Credit program. NJ Lifeline provides a $225 yearly credit on your PSE&G bill.
PSE&G households who are not eligible for low income programs and are behind in their PSE&G bill should visit for other programs like the PAGE and TRUE Grant or NJ SHARES.

Applications for Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship now being accepted

Hackensack Riverkeeper, the citizen-steward of the Hackensack River Watershed, is accepting applications for the 2016 Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship. Now in its 16th year, the program, named in honor of the late Ridgefield, N.J. science teacher and founding Riverkeeper trustee, helps support college-bound high school seniors who excel academically and who maintain a strong commitment to environmental protection.
Seniors at 66 high schools in Bergen, Hudson, and Rockland Counties are eligible to be nominated by a teacher or guidance counselor for the award. Applications must be postmarked no later than Earth Day, April 22, 2016. A panel of Hackensack Riverkeeper trustees and staffers led by Captains Bill Sheehan and Hugh Carola will review each application and consider the students’ academic achievements, environmental extracurricular activities, and future plans. The winner of the $1,000 unrestricted award will be announced on June 1. Full application criteria are available online at or by calling (201) 968-0808.
All applicants must live within the 210-square mile Hackensack River Watershed and/or attend a school within that region. A list of watershed municipalities is available on the Hackensack Riverkeeper website. For those residing in bi-watershed communities like Jersey City, Paramus, or Ramapo, nominators are cautioned to ensure a student’s eligibility before submitting an application.
Those without a high school senior in the family but who support their local best and brightest students can participate in the program by making a donation to the scholarship fund. Donations to the Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship are tax-deductible and can be made by check or online. Fully 100 percent of all such donations will go to the fund.
For more information call Program Director/Scholarship Administrator Hugh Carola at (201) 968-0808 x102 or email

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