Citizens Advisory Committee for Public Safety Forming
● By Rebecca K. Abma
Residents are the eyes and ears of Midland Park. As such, Council President Nancy Peet would like to channel citizens' concerns for the betterment of the borough with a Citizens Advisory Committee for Public Safety (CACPS). The committee brings public officials, community groups and concerned citizens together to draw attention to public safety and to brainstorm solutions to problems.
The Citizens Advisory Committee is different than other community groups that comprise citizens and officials, such Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) or Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster (VOAD). Both CERT and VOAD are concerned with emergencies and disasters. CACPS is concerned with day-to-day issues, such as pedestrian safety, playground safety, school safety and overall community safety.
Peet recognized the need for this type of organization in Midland Park in the days following Hurricane Sandy, when the councilwoman rounded up volunteers to help check on fellow residents during the extended blackout. The idea was cemented at a recent Joint Insurance Fund Ethics Training course Peet attended as part of the borough council.
Similar groups have been implemented in nearby communities, such as Ridgewood, where the group is focused primarily on pedestrian and cyclist safety, due to the increasing number of car-versus-pedestrian accidents in the village. Peet said she envisions Midland Park's version would encompass issues from the entire community and not solely focus on traffic.
"The last three or four months have shown that our borough government needs to be more transparent and that we need to work harder to restore the faith and trust of people living and working in Midland Park," she told Midland Park Press. "I have been able to assist with community projects such as continuing to strengthen the relationship between the Board of Education and the Borough Council, to provide the community with the ability to be heard on issues, and to work in developing the public safety committee."
According to Peet, CACPS would consist of a member of the governing body, a member of the Board of Education, a police representative, the recreational director and members of concerned citizens. The committee will also seek input from PTAs as well as community groups.
The council will provide the committee with support and place the issues on the governing body’s monthly discussion agenda. The committee will provide the governing body with reports and the council will establish the necessary priority.
"It is important to give public safety consistent attention," Peet said. "One of the purposes of the program will be to help achieve this consistency."
Anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about the program should contact Peet at email@example.com.