Dear New Milford Residents,
The recent reports of attempted child luring have cast an unsettling feeling over the Borough. I want to assure you that there are many dedicated officers investigating these matters. The officers have a professional and emotional investment in these cases as most of them are parents themselves.
We have been in constant contact with the Superintendent of Schools, Michael Polizzi, advising him of all new developments. Together we have been proactively disseminating information since the inception of these incidents--days before we had an incident of our own. Next week our DARE and School Resource Officers will begin addressing your children in small and age appropriate groups under the direction of the school principals.
Detectives from many agencies, and the Prosecutor’s Office, are working collectively sharing information, sorting through descriptions, pooling resources in searching every lead and utilizing every investigative tool. Patrol officers have been issued specific orders and are being extremely vigilant around places children are gathered.
Also, extra officers have been assigned to patrol and the Bergen County Police have committed their resources to augment our presence.
If you are inadvertently questioned by an officer while seated in your vehicle waiting for your child’s practice to end or an after school activity to finish it is a result of this effort and should not be taken as an affront. I have full faith and confidence in the professionalism of our officers and can assure you of their determination to put an end to these events.
I have had many requests by residents to assist the department in this effort. Some have gone as far as to offer themselves as decoys. I know the intentions are pure and understand the heightened emotions when it comes to our children, but please realize that people who commit these types of acts are extremely dangerous and do not want to be apprehended.
Your powers of observation are an important weapon in our arsenal. Never approach the subject, but call us immediately. Make every attempt to record the license plate of the vehicle. Should you observe what appears to be an act in progress call 9-1-1.
What sets our society apart from many others is that above all we are a nation of laws. Critical to this investigation is that every rule of law is followed allowing for no legal technicality to free this individual once we apprehend him.
I will keep you informed of any developments as they unfold. Bear in mind that because this in an on-going multi-jurisdictional investigation, there is a lot we cannot say publicly. However, I am always available to any resident who would like to speak to me privately if I can ease your mind in any way.
In closing, I would like to repeat that the best officers in the country are working hard to bring these incidents to closure. I know I speak for all police chiefs when I say that we think of your children as our own and will do all in our collective power to protect them. That is not only my solemn promise to all of you, but the promise of the entire New Milford Police Dept. and our colleagues throughout law enforcement.
Thank you for your time.
Chief Frank Papapietro