Fostering a safe, healthy, and resilient community is a topic that can unite residents and leaders behind a common goal. Working across the aisle to keep communities safe and thriving is essential to keeping Madison a desirable place to live, bring up a family, and own a business.
On Monday October 17th, legislators at the federal and state level convened with law enforcement officials on the steps of the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building in Madison to share details on new bipartisan bills recently introduced at the state and federal levels.
The event led by Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11 and including state Senators Richard Codey, D-Essex, and Anthony M. Bucco, R-Morris, discussed the bipartisan Federal bill that seeks to address the increasingly concerning levels of auto-thefts across New Jersey and around the country by providing local funding for everything from equipment, to technology, and law enforcement personnel. Sherrill and co-sponsor Republican Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska introduced the Auto Theft Prevention Act on Friday, Oct. 14
The Codey-Bucco NJ bipartisan state bill, announced on August 4th, would increase penalties for those arrested for these offenses and targets ring leaders with stiffer sentences.
Madison’s 2022 municipal budget already prioritizes public safety with 56.4% of the budget dedicated to these departments: Police (27.1%), Public Works (18.3%), and Fire (11%). And the total investment in the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System from the Borough has risen 33% since 2018, with nearly $33K contributed per employee annually.
These new bills would help augment the current budget and provide needed access to more resources for police departments, including Madison. At the Sept. 26th council meeting, as covered in a recent Madison Eagle article, Police Chief John Miscia urged action at the legislative level and reminded residents of their responsibility to prevent easy access for thieves.
Later in the meeting, Councilmember Rachel Ehrlich joined her colleagues in voting unanimously to pass a resolution urging the passage of a State Senate bill to impose stiffer penalties on juveniles found guilty of car theft.
In their campaign commitment, Councilmember Rachel Ehrlich and candidate Tom Haralampoudis have stressed the importance of a partnership between the public, police, and municipal government to work towards solutions that foster safe and resilient communities. These bipartisan bills, created with input and support from law enforcement leadership, are a model for this approach.