By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
VINELAND, N.J. — The Vineland Police Department announced on Monday that it’s formed a new Street Crimes Unit (SCU).
As its name suggests, the unit will work to combat street crime throughout the city. It’ll do so by investigating street crimes and working with members of the community to disrupt and prevent these crimes. However, the unit will also educate residents about the dangers of street crime.
“This unit is a direct result of the additional officers the department has been able to hire with the support of Mayor Fanucci and the members of City Council, and a change in department leadership,” Public Safety Director Edwin Alecia said in a statement.
According to Alecia, Vineland’s police department currently employs more than 160 officers — the most it has ever had. The officers in the SCU were reassigned from other positions in the department, and they’ll work under flexible schedules.
Vineland’s police department previously had a similar unit, but it was discontinued under a previous administration. Vineland Mayor Anthony Fanucci said the SCU was established not as a response to one specific incident or string of incidents, but as a proactive measure to keep the city safe.
“As I have said since taking office, the city is committed to dedicating the appropriate resources to ensure that the Vineland Police Department has the tools necessary to adequately react to and address those who have a propensity for criminal activity,” Mayor Fanucci said. “The SCU is not a response to any specific increase in crime in the city. It is a proactive step the department is taking to ensure our neighborhoods stay safe. The quality of life in our community is a critical component of our efforts to attract and retain jobs, businesses, individuals, and families.”
According to Vineland Police Chief Pedro Casiano, the unit consists of four officers under the leadership of Captain Steven Triantos. Casiano also said the SCU will be deployed to “known areas of criminal activity” in the city. The unit will have the flexibility to use citizen requests, public tips, and “intelligence-based policing” to respond to neighborhood-specific problems and crimes in Vineland.
“This is something I have wanted to implement since becoming Chief. We view it as a proven tactic to solve smaller problems before they become bigger issues,” Casiano said. “The members of the unit, which consists of four officers under the command of Captain Steven Triantos, are highly motivated, and are passionate about their new assignment. They are a proactive unit designed to seek out illicit activity at its origin to prevent the occurrence of crime and deter future acts within the City of Vineland.”
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