Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and seeing smoke pouring out of your neighbor’s home across the street. Picture witnessing a car accident when driving along Elm Ridge Road, or coming across a medical emergency while at a local restaurant. When you pick up the phone to dial 9-1-1 for help, you want to know that the emergency dispatch system on the other end of the line is equipped with the cutting-edge technology that will allow dedicated first responders to get to the scene with the utmost speed.
I am thrilled to announce that Hopewell Township has been awarded $600,000 in grant money from the State of New Jersey to update our 911 system. The money will be used to replace equipment, update technology, and upgrade our current communication center itself. This will ensure the system complies with current standards and is able to expand as necessary into the future.
When I approached Township Administrator George Snyder about this grant application, he responded by tirelessly working with the office of Assemblywoman Verlina Reyolds-Jackson to fund this critical infrastructure need. With her support, along with the support of Senator Shirley Turner and Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, the application was approved, keeping Hopewell Valley residents safer now and into the future.
9-1-1 systems have been in use for more than 40 years. But, while communications technology has evolved to include wireless phones, texting, video, and more, 9-1-1 systems have not always kept up. With this grant funding, we will be able to modernize the Hopewell Township system, which also serves both Pennington and Hopewell Borough through shared service agreements. This upgrade therefore will improve communication and collaboration Valley-wide, connecting the many types of first responders who might be needed in an emergency: the Hopewell Township Police Department, the Fire Companies, Emergency Medical Technicians, and even neighboring cities and towns who can help during big emergency events like we saw with Tropical Storm Ida.
“Our Communications Center is the lifeline to the Hopewell Valley Community. Whether calling the Police Department, dialing 9-1-1, or stopping at the station, the community and those traveling through are greeted by one of our highly-trained professional dispatchers. They are essential pieces of the puzzle; where information and directions are provided 24 hours a day as well as dispatching quick and efficient emergency response to those in need,” says Hopewell Township Police Chief James Rosso. “This grant will give us the ability to update an aging room and outdated 9-1-1 system. The addition of the next generation 9-1-1 system will be at the forefront of the renovation, making it a state-of-the-art communications center.”
David Berez, the Coordinator of Hopewell Township’s Office of Emergency Management, adds, “OEM will be working closely with the police department as we modernize the communication center to best serve our community during all types of emergencies and streamline communication, not only between Hopewell Valley agencies but with the rest of the county and beyond.”
Through emergencies such as Tropical Storm Ida and the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen firsthand the importance of a properly working 9-1-1 system. All of us on the Hopewell Township Committee are grateful that we can provide critical upgrades to our 9-1-1 dispatch system, which will help keep our residents, the residents of Hopewell Borough and Pennington, and visitors to our Valley safe today and into the future.
Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning