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Cresskill-Closter Daily Voice serves Closter, Cresskill & Demarest

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DV Pilot police & fire

Bergen County PD could police Demarest, consolidation study not ready

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CVP: Demarest officials have tentatively agreed to having Bergen County take over policing the borough now that the possibility of consolidating operations with Closter has fallen through, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned. Also: A committee studying county-level consolidation of law enforcement wasn’t ready to issue its findings following a meeting yesterday.

The committee, created by Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan and headed by highly respected contractor J. Fletcher Creamer Jr., “is still revising” its final report, a source with direct knowledge of the deliberations told CLIFFVIEW PILOT late Wednesday.

Some of those involved originally “thought Friday,” the source said. “But it will be soon.”

County freeholders have been awaiting the committee’s report before conducting public hearings on Donovan’s proposed spending plans for the county police, prosecutor’s office and sheriff’s department.

The panel’s findings still must first go to Donovan, who will review them and offer her own recommendations when releasing the report. The panel was created to suggest how best to protect the county with the least overlap following a study commissioned by her predecessor, Dennis McNerney, that questioned duplication of services.

Against that backdrop, battles have raged between Donovan and Sheriff Michael Saudino over the role of the county police.

Although the study spoke of consolidating and possibly eliminating the department, the BCPD has entered into agreements with towns eager to cut costs by having it handle their public safety responsibilities.

One of those towns is Demarest, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned. More are expected.

Although the agreement between Demarest and the county isn’t finalized, those with a stake expect an announcement before the weekend.

It would include the possibility of Demarest Police Chief James Powderley III taking a supervisory role at the county level, they told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . What would happen to the department’s dozen or so other officers couldn’t be determined Wednesday.

Some borough officials have called consolidation a good way to reduce duplication and close a budget shortfall. They also said it’s inevitable if municipalities want to keep a small-town feel without pricing their residents and business owners out.

Officials in Closter, meanwhile, say they’ve developed an effective, efficient system of policing that makes consolidation unnecessary for the borough.

Neither town has ruled out sharing other services, however.

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