RED BANK COPS BIKE DOWNPOUR FOR CHIEF

mccarthy ride 050814 2mccarthy ride 050814 1Despite teeming rain and slick roads, dozens of cyclists, including numerous police officers, headed out on a 26-mile ride in memory of late Red Bank Police Chief Steve McCarthy Thursday morning. McCarthy died last September of anaplastic thyroid cancer. He was 50 years old.

The ride followed a brief ceremony at borough hall, and was accompanied by numerous emergency vehicles flashing their lights as the riders took Tower Hill in Red Bank and headed to Brielle.

The event was held  one day before the the annual Police Unity Tour, in which cops bike to Washington, D.C. in honor of law enforcement officials who have died in the line of duty. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

RED BANK COPS TO RIDE FOR LATE CHIEF

s-mccarthyPolice Chief Steve McCarthy in 2010. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

donegoodlogoMembers of the Red Bank Police Benevolent Association plan a memorial bike ride this week for the late Chief Steve McCarthy, who died last September.

Thursday’s 25-mile ride to Brielle, expected to include between 50 and 70 officers and civilians, falls one day before the annual Police Unity Tour, in which cops bike to Washington, D.C. in honor of law enforcement officials who have died in the line of duty.

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RED BANK: McCONNELL TO BE NAMED CHIEF

darren mcconnell 081612Captain Darren McConnell is expected to be named chief of the Red Bank police department at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting, redbankgreen has learned. McConnell has been the officer in charge of the department since the September 23 death of Chief Steve McCarthy. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: PLAN FOR CHIEF’S CORTEGE

RB day funeral 092513Southbound Riverside Avenue in Red Bank will be closed for about an hour Friday morning for the funeral of police Chief Steve McCarthy, which begins at the John E. Day Funeral Home, at left above. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank commuters may encounter delays or detours Friday morning during the funeral cortege for police Chief Steve McCarthy, police said.

With numerous vehicles expected to assemble at the John E. Day Funeral Home on Riverside Avenue for a procession to a church in Long Branch, southbound Route 35 along Riverside Avenue will be closed  for about an hour before the procession gets underway at 9:30 a.m., Captain Darren McConnell tells redbankgreen.

The procession will also include a brief stop of the hearse outside the police station, at 90 Monmouth Street, and a silent tribute by Red Bank volunteer firefighters outside St. James Church on Broad Street, McConnell said.

Full details below.

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RED BANK: TOWN HALL MOURNS A LOST FRIEND

mccarthy 2 092313Bunting hung above the police station door and flags flew at half-staff in memory of Red Bank police Chief Steve McCarthy shortly after his death Monday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

mccarthy-chief-steveRed Bank officials, grieving the loss of a colleague, have began preparations for a final salute to police Chief Steve McCarthy, who died in Manhattan Monday after a battle with cancer.

“It’s a sad, sad day,” said assistant construction official John Drucker, echoing a comment heard frequently throughout borough hall, at 90 Monmouth Street.

Mayor Pasquale Menna said the police department was filled with sadness and “a lot of tears” over the death of McCarthy, at age 50, to a rare and fast-moving thyroid cancer.

Flags on borough poles were lowered to half-staff, and black-and-purple bunting was hung over the entrance to the police station.

Police officers who had taken turns driving McCarthy to treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in recent months were preparing to accommodate “hundreds of law enforcement officials, from all over the state,” for a viewing expected to be held later this week at the John E. Day Funeral Home, Menna said.

Monday afternoon, a two-car police escort quietly accompanied McCarthy’s remains back to the town he’d served for 27 years.

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MORE RED BANK COPS SOUGHT ON CRIME RISE

rbpd6 doorChief Steve McCarthy is expected to request authorization to hire three officers to combat rising crime rates. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

mccarthy-chief-steve-2Red Bank’s top cop is hoping to do some force rebuilding following the recent release of data showing a spike in crime in 2010 – and unreleased figures showing that it’s gotten worse this year.

Chief Steve McCarthy has asked the borough council to OK the hiring of three patrol officers in an effort to get the number of uniformed officers back to 40, the number it began the year with.

The request, coming as officials brace for what is expected to be the tightest municipal budget in years, follows the release of the State Police annual Uniform Crime Reports data earlier this month showing that both violent and nonviolent crime in town shot up in 2010.

And if the trends of the first ten months of 2011 hold, “we’re looking at another 8- to 10-percent increase” for 2011, McCarthy tells redbankgreen.

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FIXX BUYS TIME: 15 MINUTES FOR 90 DAYS

fixx-ext-082411Music at Fixx will be cut off at 1:30 a.m. for the next three months under a deal worked out with the borough council. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

With its liquor license on the line, Red Bank’s most problematic bar reached a temporary compromise with borough leaders Wednesday night that will give it time to prove it has gotten its chronic problems under control.

Mike Gilson, owner of Fixx on West Front Street, agreed to implement more than a dozen fixes he negotiated with police Chief Steve McCarthy over the past two months in an effort to reduce the need for police presence at closing time. Many of the changes, including beefed-up security Thursday through Saturday nights, have already been implemented, Gilson said.

But one change McCarthy insisted on led to a stalemate: he wanted Gilson to shut off the music at 1:15 a.m. in order to encourage a peaceable wind-down to a 2 a.m. closing. Gilson refused, saying it would kill his business.

“It seems like a small matter to the average person, but we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think that was a very, very important aspect of our ability to function in this economy,” Gilson’s lawyer, Rob Williams, told the council.

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McCARTHY AND RBPD GET CONTRACTS

s-mccarthyRed Bank Police Chief Steve McCarthy at a West Side Community Group meeting in November. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Steve McCarthy just got himself some job security.

For the first time in borough history, the Red Bank council entered into a contract with its police chief, locking up McCarthy for the next five years.

“It protects the individual. It protects the municipality, and it alleviates guesswork out of what you’re supposed to do,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said. “We want him to stay for five years. Or more.”

The council also endorsed an agreement good through 2013 with the union for the 38-member police force.

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RAISES APPROVED FOR RED BANK EMPLOYEES

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By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Raises are going out at Red Bank Borough Hall, but stopping at the dais.

After two years of austerity, the borough council approved two-percent raises across the board for non-unionized employees last week. But the governing body kept its own pay flat.

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COPS, CHOPPER ON SCENE AT RIVER STREET

chopperA helicopter hovered above the water at the foot of River Street Thursday morning as authorities conducted unknown “police operations.” (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

[Editor’s Note: This story is updated with information from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.]

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank and Monmouth County authorities are conducting “police operations” in the area of River Street, next to the primary school, which include a helicopter and police in a boat where Swimming River meets the upper Navesink River.

One official was overheard saying the efforts are related to a missing person report, but declined to confirm that information, and deferred all questioning to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni would not comment further on the activity, only saying it’s a “law enforcement operation.”

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BOYNTON JABS OFFICIALS AT WEST SIDE MEET

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By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Freddie Boynton might as well have laced up his old boxing gloves for this face-off.

The former boxer, who’s taken a role in retirement as a voice of Red Bank’s West Side, didn’t pull any punches when borough and elected officials made a trip to the Celestial Lodge Tuesday afternoon to address a grab bag of concerns from residents. But nearly an hour was dominated by one topic — access to Count Basie Fields — and Boynton and other residents, on the way to a compromise on extending the park’s hours, used Administrator Stanley Sickels and elected officials as punching bags for criticism.

“Our children are being locked out,” Boynton, a former borough employee, said. “We’re being treated like we’re animals over here.”

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SNOW ADDED TO TOP PED SAFETY CONCERNS

snow-sidewalkIt doesn’t do much good if snow blocks access to a shoveled sidewalk, residents say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The list of concerns related to pedestrian safety are well-documented. Red Bank needs more traffic lights, better signage, sidewalk improves and more, residents say.

But now, with snow packed into blocks of ice at the end of sidewalks throughout town, fears are heightened that something bad is going to happen.

That concern, along with the usual gripes, were aired at Wednesday night’s monthly West Side Community Group meeting with police and Mayor Pasquale Menna.

“It’s not that the sidewalks are not shoveled. It’s just that the curbing is blocked with snow,” said Carl Colmorgen, a school crossing guard. “The crosswalks are there, but you can’t get to them because of the snow.”

But the problem is going to take time to resolve, officials said.

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TASK FORCE: CHARGE FOR FIREWORKS VIEW

umbrellaSpectators, like these in Riverside Gardens Park at the 2010 show, would have to pay a ‘nominal’ entry fee to watch the fireworks, a study suggests. (Click to enlarge)

shouldersBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s KaBoom fireworks may no longer be free — and as freewheeling — as they’ve been in recent years.

The ad hoc Kaboom! Task Force, formed in September to conduct a top-to-bottom examination of the annual event delivered its final report to the borough council Wednesday night.

The diagnosis: change is needed.

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McCARTHY ON CRIME: 2010 NOT SO GOOD

mccarthy-chief-steve-2Red Bank Police Chief Steve McCarthy, commenting on Thursday’s report of a drop in crime in the borough in 2009, says next year’s report will show the opposite.

“Obviously, they’re encouraging,” McCarthy says of the 2009 results, which showed precipitous declines in the number of both violent and nonviolent crimes. “But I have to say, it’s one year, and I can tell you that comparing last year to this year, we’re up.”

Through October of this year, there have already been 21 robberies, up from the full-year 2009 total of 10, McCarthy says. The number of reported burglaries, too, is up, to 29 through October, from 22 in all of last year, he says.

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CHIEF TALKS HOT TOPICS ON THE WEST SIDE

westside-group21Red Bank Police Chief Steve McCarthy gave a crime update to West Side residents Wednesday night, part of his monthly meeting at River Street Commons. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank Police Chief Steve McCarthy comes to River Street Commons every month, and usually opens up with a crime update.

While it’s an important element of his regular appearances in front of the West Side Community Group — especially this month, with a rash of violence on the West Side — it’s only one reason for the visits.

It’s on nights like these he gets to hear the concerns from residents. And they have plenty.

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FOUR ARRESTED IN CRACK RAIDS

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Red Bank Police have arrested four suspects after a two-prong raid on the West Side Thursday, they announced today.

The busts, which culminated a two-month investigation done in conjunction with the State Police, resulted in the seizure of two caches of crack cocaine, marijuana and a pair of handguns, according to an announcement by Chief Steve McCarthy.

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FED MONEY FLOWS FOR CROSSWALK OPS

cops-in-crosswalks2Sgt. Michael Furlong demonstrated the new “Cops in Crosswalks” program that will take place in Red Bank throughout the year. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Chief Steve McCarthy wasn’t just in a good mood or having a better-than-usual day on Thursday.

“I’m ecstatic,” Red Bank’s top cop said.

The reason for his cheer was one that he thinks will have a lasting effect on the borough, because it has a problem, he says: in the last five years, McCarthy says more people have died crossing the street than in homicides.

“That’s why one accident is too much,” he said.

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AFTER 35 YEARS, DeFAZIO PACKS IT UP

pete-defazioCaptain Pete DeFazio is leaving the Red Bank PD after 35 years.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Pete DeFazio has always been a Green Bay Packers fan, which may seem odd given that he’s a  born-and-bred Red Banker living in a state with two pro football teams.

“I like cold weather,” he says, by way of explanation. “I’ve been to Wisconsin a few times”.

He sports a Packers sticker on his office door and, since his father passed away and was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Middletown, where the late Packers head coach Vince Lombardi also rests, DeFazio jokes that his dad has the legendary coach for a neighbor.

The elder DeFazio didn’t really have a favorite team, so the son’s passion didn’t come from his father. But DeFazio’s sense of community service did. Like his dad before him, DeFazio has served on the Red Bank First Aid Squad and Relief Engine Co. since he was a young man.

He went one step further, though. When a spot opened up on the Red Bank police force in 1975, DeFazio started a career as a policeman — first as a dispatcher, then a patrolman and, eventually, captain, the highest rank within the force short of chief.

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