Hoboken Police Chief on the battle for containment and to save human life
Good morning men and women of our great Hoboken PD, our government leaders, and our residents of the City of Hoboken,
This has been a week that will be remembered for a lifetime, with a couple more weeks ahead that will add to permanent memory. I first want to thank and recognize the men and women of the Hoboken Police Department for how they have handled this Coronavirus Pandemic crisis so far, not missing a beat, and dealing with situations this week that are uncalled for. I want all of you to read what I am going to share with our residents and government leaders!
The Saturday afternoon and evening shifts of our police department were chaotic. The job that each Captain, Lieutenant, Sergeant, Patrol Officer and dispatcher, as well as Emergency Medical Services personnel from Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Jersey City Medical Center, and McCabe Ambulance were exemplary! In a six hour period, our officers responded to 114 calls for service.
They included fights, disputes, people spitting in each other’s faces, emotionally disturbed persons calls, disorderly juveniles fighting, reports of shots fired(unfounded), pedestrians struck by auto, reckless driving, just to name some of these cases. We also had a fight that started in a bar where a 30 year old male from North Bergen was knocked unconscious and seriously injured. It took over 30 minutes for an ambulance to respond due to all the ambulances in the region being tied up on medical calls. It was not the bar fight which brought our OEM Coordinator and Mayor to impose stricter regulations and a curfew. It was the totality of the circumstances and the fact that we have a worldwide pandemic, a national emergency and a state of emergency all occurring , and we need to take actions to save lives and prevent further contact from activities that will spread the Coronavirus. Every medical expert and leader has informed us that this situation is going to get worse and if we don’t take measures to protect each other, we can end up with situations like Wuhan. China, and Milan, Italy where tens of thousands were infected, and hundreds died daily. Northern Italy had 3500 new cases yesterday and 175 deaths….yesterday. They did not shut down bars, restaurants and plazas and people continued to socialize. Now they are playing from behind.
Last night in Hoboken looked like people poured into our bars and restaurants like this was an oasis, and Hoboken was isolated from this pandemic. This was reckless by all those involved. Our numbers are going to increase exponentially, and we need to take all necessary temporary steps, to mitigate any more numbers of cases and try to prevent death. That word is not an exaggeration, it’s a sad fact of what this virus is bringing to many areas of the world and we need to listen to the medical experts who are trying to tell us all that the only way to attack this virus is by not giving it a chance to spread.
Last night, Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Sgt. William Montanez and Mayor Ravi Bhalla ordered new regulations including overnight curfews starting Monday. I support those decisions 100%. I applaud the amount of time the two of them have put into this over the past 2 weeks. For the past week, we have been on the phones 24/7. They are not working 8, 12, 16 hours. Their communications with us and their work is around the clock. They have the responsibility for keeping our residents safe from this pandemic. All of these regulations this week have been discussed and well thought out and debated.
In 2012, we saw a Democratic President in Barack Obama, a Republican Governor Chris Christie, and our Mayor Dawn Zimmer, all work together to help us get through the disaster of Superstorm Sandy where Hoboken was one of the worst hit cities in the country. I need to remind everyone that the coming together of all political sides helped contribute to a miraculous fact that we did not have one death in our city! We need to do the same now. If you are reading this, and you took an oath for your position, go back and read or recall your oath. Mine is on my office wall. Whether you are a police officer, fire fighter, elected official, government leader or any other position where you took an oath, we are all obliged to live up to that oath for the health and welfare of every one of our residents. I call on everyone to please put their political differences aside and come together to work together to save lives. There is more than enough time before the next election to go back to politicking, and I say this to all sides! The past 4 years has seen our nation, state, county and city, fall into political extreme divisiveness. There is no place for moderates or centralists. Please put your extreme views aside, just for a short period, because COVID-19 didn’t declare itself a Democrat or Republican.
Going back to the curfew. I discussed above the reasons. There are a couple of other reasons. A main one is that first responders (police, fire, ems) as well as medical professionals (doctors, nurses, aides, health officers,etc) also need a few hours to take a breath and get a few hours of rest. We are not robots. We can only go 24/7 for so long and need to persevere for more weeks to come. We have not reached our peak of this virus.. Life will have some normalcy during daylight hours. Stores, restaurants, banks, pharmacies, pet stores, etc, will be open. We just can’t have congregations of people coming together at night like it is Spring Break. We need to protect some people from themselves. Our police officers will be very diplomatic with this curfew. It is not about arrests at all. It is not to stop the individual walking their dog, or going to or coming from work. It is done to try to prevent those who are careless and not taking this seriously, coming to our or leaving the city to go socialize in groups, which is putting everyone at risk. The world, not just Hoboken, needs to take a couple of weeks break, to let our public safety and medical professionals beat this pandemic.
I love this City that I have lived in my entire life, and ask all who read this to come together.
As I finish all my emails to my officers, I ask you to…
Stay safe, Be Alert, and Watch out for one another!
Kenneth F. Ferrante
Chief of Police
Hoboken Police Department
1 Police Plaza
Hoboken, NJ 07030