News and Events:  2010

Previous years:  2010 | 2011 | 2012 

Last Update:  10/08/2010

NJDOT Work to continue Monday, 10/11 along shoulder of North Ave (Rt28) from Carpenter Pl to Lincoln Ave between 7am-5pm.

Be advised the New Jersey Department of Transportation will be continuing work along Route 28 (North Avenue) in Cranford the week of October 11, 2010.

Initial work will only involve shoulder closures along the east and westbound lanes of Route 28 between Carpenter Place and Lincoln Avenue for curb, sidewalk, and drainage repairs.

Work will be conducted between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. all week. All business access will be maintained.

Additional information will be issued via Nixle and at when available. At the comlpetion of the shoulder work, the roadway will be milled and paved.

 Cranford Police Department  to Participate in...

The Cranford Police Department, will be hosting an Operation Take Back New Jersey local collection site as part of the Operation Take Back NJ medicine disposal day.  The event will take place at Cranford Municipal Building, room #7 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 25, 2010.  This initiative, open to all residents, was organized to encourage local community residents to properly dispose of their unused, unwanted and expired medicine.

This statewide effort, with the majority of New Jersey police departments participating, is being spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Jersey Division, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, the NY/NJ HIDTA, and the New Jersey National Guard.  Cranford residents looking for information on the program and local collection sites should visit  

Eric G. Mason, Cranford Police Chief stated, “ The abuse of prescription and over the counter drugs is too often overlooked as a public safety and community health issue, through our participation in operation take back New Jersey we are encouraging residents to properly dispose of their unwanted or expired medicines, and we are bringing this important issue to light, “ said Chief Mason

John G. McCabe, Jr., Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA New Jersey Division stated, “Last year New Jersey opened its medicine cabinets and we collected over 9,000 pounds of medicine that was unwanted.  This year, we are very excited about the continued support brought on by Operation Take Back New Jersey, and we hope all citizens will take time to eliminate any and all medicines that are not suitable for proper medical use.  The more public attention we bring to this issue, the more we trust that people will become educated on the dangers of prescription drug abuse.”

According to McCabe, the most recent studies by Monitoring the Future, University of Michigan, between 1997 and 2007, stated that treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 400 percent.[1]  In addition, between 2004 and 2008, the number of visits to hospital emergency departments involving the non-medical use of narcotic painkillers increased 111 percent.[2]  The proper disposal of unwanted medication will help reduce the potential for pharmaceutical diversion. 

[1] Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Highlights- 2007, SAMHSA: National Admissions to Substance

   Abuse Treatment Services

2 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), SAMHSA, 2010.  Found at


Over the Limit, Under Arrest!

The Cranford Police Department will be cracking down on drunk drivers as part of the summer 2010 “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” campaign between August 20th and September 6th..  The department recently received a $4,400 grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety for overtime enforcement during this two-week campaign.

A concentrated national effort, the campaign helps to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high-visibility enforcement and public education tools, including posters, banners, and mobile video displays signs.  Launched nationally in 1999, the program works to combat drunk driving during some of the busiest travel times of the year, including the summer months.

“There is simply no excuse to drink and drive,” said Pam Fischer, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety.  “Even one drink can impair your judgement and reaction time, creating a potentially dangerous situation not only for yourself, but everyone on the road.”

Last year in New Jersey, 185 people were killed as a result of alcohol-related crashes.  That number represents 31 percent of the 583 traffic fatalities reported in the state in 2009.  In addition, 67 of those alcohol-related fatalities occurred during the summer travel season.

The Cranford Police Department will be joining other law enforcement agencies throughout the state participating in the Over the Limit, Under Arrest 2010 crackdown.  Cranford Police Chief Eric G. Mason offers the following advice:

 If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out.

 Take mass transit, a taxi, or ask a sober friend to drive you home.

 Spend the night where the activity is held.

 Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.  In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk driver or aggressive driver.

 Always buckle up, every ride.  It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.

 If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend drive you to your doorstep.


Beginning in August 2010, the Cranford Police Department will utilize a new communications service that allows the agency to send important, valuable community information directly to residents using the latest technology.  The Nixle Community Information Service allows the police department to create and publish messages to be delivered to subscribed residents instantly via cellular phone text message (SMS) and/or e-mail. Notifications can also be accessed online at Nixle’s web site at

Messages may include traffic updates and road closures, Amber Alerts, and emergency storm and flood notifications, as well as other relevant safety and community event information.

According to Cranford Police Chief Eric Mason the department is continually adapting to the changing technology around us.  “This service will allow us to share information with residents in a concise and timely manner that wasn’t possible in past years,” he said.  “The more we are able to communicate with the public going forward, the safer our community will become.”

The service is reliable and free for governmental use. The messages are generally targeted specifically to residents registered within and immediately near a specific community, giving them the opportunity to receive trustworthy information relevant only to their neighborhood. Residents decide from which local agencies they want to receive information. Additionally, subscribers can choose the way in which alerts are received, whether it is by e-mail, text message, or via the Internet.

There is NO spam and no hidden cost, although standard text messaging rates do apply. Nixle builds on the foundations of other public-to-public communication services, such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, but adds a key component: security. When citizens receive information from the Cranford Police Department via Nixle, they know it can be trusted.
"Nixle is a first-of-its-kind tool for communities that need to provide critical information to their residents," said Craig Mitnick, Founder and CEO.  "In today's world, you have to trust the source of your information. Residents of Cranford can rest easy knowing that the local messages they receive are authentic."

Residents of Cranford Township, and those in neighboring communities, can immediately begin receiving pertinent information via text message, email, and web by registering at

About Nixle:  Nixle is a community information service provider built exclusively to provide secure and reliable communications. It is the first authenticated and secure service that connects municipal agencies and community organizations to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and via Web access. Nixle has secured a partnership with Nlets (the International Justice and Public Safety Network), allowing local police departments nationwide to send immediate alerts and advisories. Privately funded Nixle, which has offices in New Jersey and California, is free to all governments, their agencies and organizations, nongovernmental organizations and consumers. For more information, visit

5th Annual Citizen Police Academy Now Accepting Applications!

The 5th annual Citizens’ Academy will be held from September 9, 2010 to November 13, 2010.

The Cranford Police Department Citizens’ Academy is a 25-hour block of instruction designed to give the public a working knowledge of the Cranford Police Department’s personnel and policies. It consists of 10 classes held once a week on Thursday nights for 2 ½ hours per session. The instruction is comprehensive, covering a different area of the police department each week. Certified police officers, supervisors and personnel with particular expertise in a particular division conduct each instructional block. There will also be guest instructors in certain areas.

Topics covered will consist of communications, training, traffic, criminal investigations, juvenile law, CPR/ first aid, DWI investigations and firearms and their use. Emphasis is placed on the patrol division because the patrol division is the segment that comes in contact with the public most, and all other areas of the department function and support unit to assist patrol or continue a process originated by the patrol division. Participants will also get hands on experience, by riding in a patrol car for a portion of the officers shift and spending a few hours at the pistol range.

Who may attend? Any interested citizen who resides or works in the Township of Cranford is encouraged to apply. Applicants who are selected must be 21 years old on or before September 9, 2010. Applicants cannot have a felony conviction.

The Citizens Academy class is limited to 15 people. If you would like to be a part of this exciting approach to law enforcement, please download an application from our website Click on download forms, find Citizens Academy application. Applications will also be left at the police desk 24 hours a day. Police headquarters is located at 8 Springfield Ave.  All applications must be completed and turned in no later than Monday, August 23, 2010. Participants will be selected and contacted. Only those citizens who can commit to this program need apply.

If you would like more information concerning this program please contact Det/Lieutenant Robert Colaneri at 908-709-7358.

National Night Out Celebration 

The Cranford Police Department will be participating in the 27th Annual National Night Out on Tuesday, August 3rd from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. near the Gazebo at the intersection of North Union Avenue and Springfield Avenue.  The free nationwide event is designed to promote crime prevention awareness.  It also allows the public to interact with members of the police department and obtain information about the department's main programs.

There will be displays of police vehicles, including a police car, zodiac boat, motorcycle, and ambulance.  A DJ, face painter, magician, and balloon animal maker will be on hand to entertain.  Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and the American Red Cross will be handing out literature and free giveaways.  For the 2nd year in a row, a blood drive will also be held during National Night Out.  This year the drive is in memory of NJ State Trooper Mark Castellano.  Members of the Cranford PBA #52 will be handing out free Italian ices to all in attendance as well.


Youth Academy Session 4 Graduation
The fourth class of the Cranford Police Department Youth Police Academy graduated recently after completing a one-week course designed to expose them to the functions of the police department.

The academy program, designed to bridge the gap between the members of the police department and the youth of Cranford, included 17 cadets from Cranford between the ages of 11 and 14.  “The primary goal of the Youth Police Academy is to encourage open communication between Cranford youth and the members of the Cranford Police Department” said Cranford Police Chief Eric Mason.

Each academy day started with one hour of physical fitness and military drill practice followed by classroom lectures and demonstrations.  Training sessions were designed to familiarize the cadets with the roles of Cranford police officers, as well as the functions of various county and state law enforcement agencies.  During the week, cadets received classroom lectures and practical exercises on police department structure, patrol operations, motor vehicle stops, investigative techniques, DWI, first aid/CPR, firearms safety, gang awareness, and traffic investigations.

Demonstrations were presented by the Cranford Police Department’s Emergency Medical Services, Water Rescue Unit, Firearms Unit, Investigative Division, Traffic Division, and Juvenile Bureau.  Additional presentations were made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Union County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, New Jersey State Police Northstar Medivac, New Jersey State Police Gang Unit, Union County Bomb Squad, Union County SWAT/UCERT, Union County Homicide Task Force, and Union County Gangs, Guns, Drugs, and Violent Crime Task Force.

Family and friends of the cadets attended the graduation ceremony held at the Cranford Police Department.  Academy lead instructors, Detective Robert Montague and Patrolman Steven D’Ambola, led the graduation ceremonies.  During the ceremony, family and friends were given an overview of the Youth Academy Program.  The highlight of the graduation was a video and slide show depicting the weeklong training experience.  All graduating cadets received certificates for their participation in the program.

Plaza Dedication to Honor Fallen Police Officer

The Cranford Police Department is proud to announce the dedication of Patrolman Robert F. Hand Plaza in honor of the only Cranford Police Officer to lose his life in the line of duty.  The plaza incorporates the portion of Springfield Avenue between North Avenue and North Union Avenue.  The Cranford Police Department will be holding a dedication ceremony on June 30, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. on the front lawn of police headquarters.  Members of the public are welcome to attend.     


Department Receives Top Honors in Law Enforcement Challenge
The Cranford Police Department was recently honored after receiving a first place finish in the 46-75 officer category of the New Jersey Law Enforcement Challenge for the third year in a row.  The Law Enforcement Challenge is a competition between similar sizes and types of law enforcement agencies.  It recognizes and rewards the best overall traffic safety programs in the United States.  The areas of concentration include efforts to enforce laws and educate the public about occupant protection, impaired driving, and speeding.  The wining safety programs are those that combine officer training, public information, and enforcement to reduce crashes and injuries within its jurisdiction.


The Cranford Police Department also finished the competition with the second highest overall score for all department categories.  For placing second overall, the department received a Doppler radar unit from MPH Industries, Inc. valued at $2,500.  Unlike traditional radar units, this unit allows officers to isolate traffic from only one lane, while disregarding other lanes and directions.  The radar unit will be used for speed enforcement on a daily basis.


The Law Enforcement Challenge is financed through a grant awarded to the International Association of Chief’s of Police (IACP) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Both of these organizations believe an increase in traffic enforcement in a community results in a decrease in motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities.  The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police has established it’s own state Challenge program along with the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.


Click It or Ticket - 2010
Law enforcement officers from the Cranford Police Department will be cracking down on unbuckled motorists and their passengers as part of the nationwide “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

Beginning May 24 and running through June 6, the annual initiative includes high visibility law enforcement seat belt checkpoints and saturation patrols, as well as local and national publicity designed to ensure that drivers and passengers recognize the life-saving value of seat belts.

“Using a seat belt is the simplest way for a motorist and his or her passengers to protect themselves when on the road,” said Cranford Police Chief Eric Mason.  “Motor vehicle occupants who buckle-up are between 45 and 75 percent less likely to face life threatening injuries in a car crash.”

Last year, the seatbelt usage rate in New Jersey rose for the 13th consecutive year to 92.67%.  The goal of this year’s campaign is 100% compliance.

For the first time, the campaign will focus on rear seat passengers as well.  New legislation requiring adult rear seat passengers to buckle up became law earlier this year.  Currently, adult back seat belt use stands at 32 percent.

During the mobilization period from May 24 – June 6, the Cranford Police Department will conduct a zero tolerance safety belt enforcement campaign.  Motorists who are not buckled up will be issued a ticket.  In addition, concerted efforts are going on locally and statewide to raise awareness about the importance and life-saving benefits of safety belts.

"High visibility enforcement saves lives," said Cranford Police Chief Eric G. Mason.  "Our goal is to make sure that all motor vehicle occupants are wearing their seatbelt."



New Graduated Driver License (GDL) Laws
On May 1, 2010 the requirements for all teens (16-20 years of age) holding a permit or probationary license under New Jersey's Graduated Driver License (GDL) Law will change.  To ensure that GDL holders comply with the law, they and their parents should be aware that the teen driver now must follow the restrictions listed below:
  • may not be on the road between 11:01 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
  • may transport only one passenger in the vehicle besides his/her dependents. (The passenger restriction is waived if a parent or guardian is in the vehicle.)
  • may not use a cell phone (hand-held or hands-free), ipod, or other wireless electronic device.  (GPS systems and ipods connected to a vehicle's sound system are permitted, but a teen shall not make any adjustments to them while driving.)
  • must ensure that all vehicle occupants are properly restrained in child safety seats or seat belts.
  • must display a decal on the front and rear license plate.
  • may not plea bargain any point carrying offenses.

There is NO grandfathering of existing GDL holders.  Regardless of how much time a GDL holder has remaining on his/her GDL, they must abide by these requirements as of May 1st.  In addition, the name of the provisional license has changed to probationary license.


FEMA Disaster Assistance
The Township of Cranford has been selected as a local Disaster Field Office location in Union County.  This FEMA office will be located in room #7 at the Cranford Municipal Building and is for persons seeking individual assistance as a result of loss or damages resulting from the recent rain storms in March.
The office will be open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting Tuesday, April 13, 2010.   Home owners, renters, and business owners affected can also use teleregistration to begin the assistance process immediately.   Registration can be done by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired or online at
When filing you should have the following information available:
  • Address and phone number where you can be reached
  • Social Security number
  • Current mailing address
  • Date the damage occurred
  • Address of affected property
  • Brief description of the damages
  • Insurance information
  • Family's gross income
Register Today - Even if You Have Flood Insurance. Some Losses May Not be Covered.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Disaster reeovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, you should call FEMA at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or contact your local Office of Equal Rights.

New Pedestrian Law
On April 1, 2010 the New Jersey law regarding pedestrians changed.  The new law requires that motorists STOP and remain stopped for pedestrians crossing in a marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.  Failure to observe this law will subject you to one or more of the following:  $200 fine, 2 points on your license, 15 days community service, and insurance surcharges.

In addition, whenever a vehicle is stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

As a reminder, pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility.  Pedestrians must obey pedestrian signals and use crosswalks at signalized intersections.  Also, when a pedestrian is upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection they must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

The law does not relieve a pedestrian from using due care for their own safety.  Additional information can be found on the following information card.

Anniversary of Officer Hand's Sacrifice

It has been 35 years since the death of the only Cranford Police Officer to lose his life in the line of duty.   Patrolman Robert F. Hand sacrificed his life protecting and serving the citizens of Cranford on February 11, 1975 following a motor vehicle pursuit.

The Cranford Police Department and the community at large have never forgotten Officer Hand’s bravery.  There are many memorial tributes to him, including a monument stone in front of police headquarters bearing Officer Hand’s name and Badge #26.  Also dedicated to his memory is a portrait of “The Senator,” as he was affectionately known, which hangs in the lobby of the police desk.  A photograph of Officer Hand along with his badge is displayed prominently in the police department hallway.

At the time of his death Patrolman Hand was 45 years old.  More than 700 police officers and almost 140 police cars made a final tribute to Hand by participating in a procession from Dooley Funeral Home on North Avenue to St. Michael’s Church on Alden Street where a funeral mass with full police honors was held.  The procession, over a mile long, then went past police headquarters and proceeded to the burial at Graceland Memorial Park Cemetery in Kenilworth. 

The Reverend Joseph Derbyshire, Cranford Police Chaplain and former assistant pastor at St. Michael’s, was the celebrant of the mass.  Monsignor John Davis, pastor of St. Michael’s, gave the eulogy and Reverend John Oates assisted in the service.  Police Chief Matthew Haney presented the flag from the casket to Patrolman Hand’s 17 year old son, Brian.  Hand’s other children were Margaret, Timothy, and Mary.

The police pallbearers were Lieutenants Myron Cymbaluk and Henry Polidoro, Sergeants Gerard Haney and John Korsch, and Patrolmen John Herzer and Robert Nylen.

Fourteen members of the Cranford Police Auxiliary handled traffic control during the funeral and police officers from Garwood, Roselle Park, and Clark were on duty for calls in Cranford. 

Patrolman Robert “Bobby” F. Hand was born in 1930 and was a native of Jersey City before moving to Cranford.  He attended St. Benedict’s High School and in 1947 joined the United States Air Force, attaining the rank of Corporal and serving in the Korean Conflict.  He received an Honorable Discharge in 1950. Robert was appointed to the Cranford Police Department on July 1, 1956 and was assigned to the Patrol Division.  Hand received a number of commendations during his career.  In August 1968 he was commended for breaking up a narcotics ring where 10 people were arrested.  Rahway Police commended him in March 1969 for his help in the arrest of a child molester and Army deserter. 

During his time with the police department, Patrolman Hand was affectionately nicknamed “The Senator” by fellow officers because he couldn’t walk more than a few blocks without stopping to greet a dozen people.  He always took the time to stop and say hello to people.  Bobby always put others needs before his own and was notorious for his willingness to help those in need.

Robert was a member of the local Elk’s Club and of VFW Post No. 335.  He was also a very active member of Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Local #52 and had been elected President the prior spring.  He was instrumental in establishing the PBA collective bargaining unit which then resulted in the first labor contract between policemen and the township.  After his death, the PBA established the Robert F. Hand Memorial Brotherhood Award which is given to the PBA member who best exemplifies the tradition of brotherhood that Officer Hand stood for.  The first recipient of the honor was Lieutenant Myron Cymbaluk in 1980.  In addition, the PBA recently announced they will offer a scholarship in Hand’s honor to Cranford residents looking to attend college in the fall. 

This year, to honor his memory, members of the Cranford Police Department will wear black mourning bands on their badges beginning Thursday, February 11th through Thursday, February 18th.

“Officer Hand gave his life in service to his community.  The sacrifice that he and his family made will never be forgotten.  On the anniversary of his death we should all pause for a moment in our day to pay him tribute,” said Cranford Police Chief Eric G. Mason.

Alive at 25® Parent Program 

The Cranford Police Department is pleased to announce an additional session of the “Alive at 25® Parent Program” in Cranford.  The program was developed by the National Safety Council to supplement their “Alive at 25®” driving course for teenagers.

The program is being offered on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Avenue.  The parents’ program is offered at no cost to parents and guardians of new or soon to be new teen drivers.  Those interested should contact Lieutenant Joseph Van Bergen at 908-709-7334 or by e-mail in order to register.
The registration form and brochure can be found by clicking the following link:  Parent Program Brochure.

In 2007 Governor Corzine established the Teen Driver Study Commission to assess the state of teen driving in New Jersey and make recommendations that will ultimately reduce crashes and save lives.  In March of 2008 the Governor’s Teen Driver Study Commission issued their findings, which included fourteen recommendations for improving teen driver safety in New Jersey.  One of these recommendations was to require a parent/guardian to attend a teen driver orientation program prior to their teen applying for a permit.  We feel the “Alive at 25® Parent Program” goes a long way in following through on this recommendation.    “Given the inexperience of these teen drivers, they need some structure to handle the huge responsibility of driving.  That’s what this parent program will accomplish,” said Police Chief Eric Mason.


The “Alive at 25® Parent Program” urges parents to sit down with their teen and draw up a contract to drive responsibly as well as assume a greater role in seeing their children are safe on the road.  It also encourages parents to take a look at their own driving behavior and how they can be better role models on the road.

The parent course addresses the following topics:

  • Readiness to assist your teen in the learn-to-drive process
  • Risks and hazards
  • Defensive driving
  • Preventable collisions
  • Elements of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) System
  • GDL and other motor vehicle laws
  • The purpose and components of an effective Parent/Teen agreement
  • The relationship between driving restrictions and consequences for violations