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Marlboro police dispatchers to be subject of special council meeting

MARLBORO — The members of the Marlboro Township Council have scheduled a special meeting for 7 p.m. June 2 to discuss police communications.

The council members unanimously passed a resolution during their meeting on May 19 to schedule the special June 2 session in Town Hall.

During the public comment portion of the May 19 meeting, resident Alan Ginsburg addressed the issue, which he said has been a recent topic of discussion in the community.

Ginsburg said he believes the three Republicans who joined the council in January – Juned Qazi, Michael Milman and Antoinette DiNuzzo – have been discussing the idea of moving the dispatch services out of Marlboro and to Monmouth County since shortly after they took office.

There are two Democrats on the council – Michael Scalea and Randi Marder.

Ginsburg objected to moving a job that has been handled by in-house Marlboro Police Department employees for many years to the Monmouth County communications center in Freehold Township.

In recent years, officials in many municipalities in Monmouth County have eliminated their internal police dispatching unit and shifted that responsibility to the county.

“I can’t believe three people (Qazi, Milman and DiNuzzo) are trying to fire our dispatchers,” Ginsburg said. “Do you think the people (at the county communications center) know Marlboro’s infrastructure? Why are we looking to make this change? You are dealing with people’s lives and you can’t put a price on people’s lives. I want Marlboro’s dispatchers here. This is a political stunt that should not happen.”

Ginsburg said he believes municipal officials can fund the improvements that are needed to upgrade the police department’s dispatching equipment and systems.

Regarding the issue, Democratic Mayor Jonathan Hornik said, “My priority is response time. These dispatchers have delivered for Marlboro for as long as I can remember. Our police department’s response time to a call is 2.6 minutes. Our priority is to keep residents safe.”

Hornik said Marlboro’s dispatchers answered more than 33,000 calls for service in 2021. He called the township’s dispatchers “capable and compassionate people.”

Scalea said he would like to see response times when calls for assistance have to go through the Monmouth County communications center.

Milman said, “Further research is needed to make the right decision. We need facts. There is still a lot of information we do not know. The equipment in town is failing. We need to make a tough decision.”

Qazi said all aspects of the police communications issue will be discussed during the June 2 special meeting, which is open to the public.

Action will not be taken at the meeting. There will be a Citizen’s Voice portion and each speaker will have three minutes to address the council.

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