MAYOR DUCEY STATEMENT REGARDING RECENT SHOOTING AND CRIME IN BRICK

Mayor John G. Ducey has released the following statement regarding the recent shooting and crime in the community:

“As a parent of a 7-year old son, I fully understand and appreciate the fear we all experienced when news broke of a shooting near Brick Memorial High School. October 22 was, without a doubt, my worst day as Mayor. As the person who bears the ultimate responsibility for every single resident of this town, I recognize and continue to be fully committed to enhancing safety.

Many people have contacted me in the wake of this incident and shared their fears. Some have suggested that crime is rising in Brick Township. The statistics show this is not true. Yes, we have had several high profile incidents in the past few weeks. However, crime has been trending down in our community.

In 2018, Brick Township had 65 violent crimes. This is the lowest amount since 2005. Also, property crimes from 2014-2018 are down 21% compared to 2009-2013. This isn’t perception or conjecture. These are facts. These are statistics from the FBI Crime Report.

That being said, even one violent crime is too many. That is why the Council and I have been working with the Brick Township Police Department to ensure that they have the staffing and the resources they need to better protect our community. Over the past five years, we have taken many measures to do just that. These include:

  • Appointed Chief Riccio as police chief. I wanted a “boots-on-the-ground” leader and have been so pleased with my decision. He is a great leader of a great force.
  • Staffed our Police Department with the highest numbers of police officers in Brick Township history.
  • Restored the Selective Enforcement Team formerly known as the gang task force. We just added 4 officers to support their work.
  • Identified areas with high crime activity and designated them as special districts. These areas have 24-hour police presence. As a result, there has been a significant decrease in crime in these neighborhoods and a much better partnership with residents who are equally committed to a safe neighborhood.
  • Increased training for officers, particularly for active shooter situations.
  • Adopted a responsible landlord ordinance that will hold landlords responsible when their tenants commit crimes. We can’t control who lives in our community; we can’t make people leave. But, we can impose monetary penalties and force legal action when tenants don’t respect out community and our laws. We can – and did – take measures that will continue to encourage landlords to better vet their tenants and get rid of them if they prove to be bad citizens.

These measures have been paying off. The FBI’s statistics show that.

In response to the recent shootings that occurred in Brick Township, Chief Riccio has stepped up patrols and special enforcement in areas known for criminal activity. Among other initiatives, manpower has been added to the department’s Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) and Selective Enforcement Team (SET). Recently, Brick detectives joined forces with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office in a joint effort to target areas known for illegal activity. These units worked together to aggressively target these areas which included those frequented by the juveniles arrested in connection to last week’s shooting incident. These cooperative efforts led to the arrest of nineteen (19) individuals over a three-day period.

In terms of actual statistics, there were 65 violent crimes in Brick in 2018; the lowest since 2005. Violent crimes over the past five years are down 18% from the previous 5-year period; property crimes are down 21%. By these measures, Brick Township is becoming a safer community.

Few things evoke fear like school shootings – the fact is that this happened near a school as kids were let out. Parents were rightfully scared. Also, Brick Township unfortunately has had a few high profile incidents over the past few weeks. Two murders that were the result of domestic violence and the two drive-by shootings including the one by the school, which turned out to be connected. These were not random acts of violence. When high profile crimes happen, they are posted on social media and shared and take on a life on their own, often not based in fact but based on instilling fear. It creates a narrative that Brick Township is a dangerous community. Statistics show we are trending the other way.

Also, gangs are not geographically exclusive to Brick Township. These people are members of gangs that are region-wide, if not nation-wide. That is why the fight against gang violence involves several layers of law enforcement. Our Police Department works with other local departments, the County Sheriff and Prosecutor’s Office, the State Police, the FBI and other agencies to combat gang presence and violence. This interdepartmental cooperation and the dissemination of information is essential for these efforts. Our Police will continue to work with them diligently and I have nothing but the utmost faith and confidence in Chief James Riccio and our officers.

With regards to what citizens can do to help us in this fight, first and foremost, I would encourage everyone to first think about your safety and the safety of your family before doing anything. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. If you see or are aware of any activities that concern you, call our Police Department at 732-262-1100. They are best equipped to deal with any issues.

Again, I understand the fear that was felt upon the first reports of shots fired at a school in town. It must have been similar to the fear that Brick Township parents felt in 1990 when news broke of a student holding his classmates hostage with a shotgun at a Township high school.

I absolutely will continue to focus on ensuring our police have the tools they need to keep us safe and know that our residents will work with them to whatever extent possible. Together, we will experience joys and face challenges and grow stronger in our commitment to our Town.

Sincerely,

Mayor John G. Ducey”

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TO BE FOCUS AT COUNCIL MEETING

October is recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in an effort to help raise awareness and put a spotlight on domestic violence within the community, the Brick Township Council and Mayor John G. Ducey will welcome local organizations and professionals who work with domestic violence victims to the October 22, 2019 Council meeting.

“Domestic violence is a problem that affects every community in America. It affects every gender, every race, every age, every sexual orientation,” said Mayor Ducey. “This month gives all citizens the opportunity to learn about domestic violence, its impact on our communities and how all of us can help educate and empower people to get help and stop the violence.”

Mayor Ducey has proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Township Council will be voting on a resolution recognizing the same at the meeting. The proclamation and resolutions will be presented to the guests at the meeting.

In this past year, there have been 3 homicides in Brick Township – all of them domestic in nature, all 3 victims were in relationships with the people who are accused of committing these homicides.  These were not random acts of violence; they were perpetrated by people closest to the victims.

The Township Council and Mayor Ducey have invited Providence House and Dottie’s House to the October 22 Council meeting. Providence House assists residents with emergency assistance in Brick Municipal Court. Dottie’s House provides short-term housing for victims who have fled a violent relationship and need a fresh start. The Township supports both of these organizations with Community Block Development Grant funds.

“Providence House and Dottie’s House are both outstanding organizations that work to help victims of domestic violence and the Council and I are proud to be able to support them through our CDBG program,” said Mayor Ducey.

Also attending and speaking at the October 22 meeting will be Monmouth University Professor and former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Lawrence R. Jones. Prior to retiring from the Bench in 2017, Judge Jones served as the President of the New Jersey Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and authored over 60 opinions on novel issues of law, including   significant published and unpublished opinions on issues of domestic and dating violence.  During his years of service on the Bench, Judge Jones also served as a member of the faculty of New Jersey’s Judicial College, and was the creator of the N.J.  Judiciary’s 2016 training program, “Harassment:  Drawing the Line between Domestic Disagreements and Domestic Violence.” Jones was recently appointed  by Monmouth University to create and teach  what is believed to be possibly  the nation’s first-ever undergraduate course  on domestic violence law and social policy at a major university to (a)  be  both developed and taught by a former domestic violence judge.

“It is our hope that raising awareness and providing information gives people who are being abused the strength, courage and knowledge they need for them to seek and receive help before it is too late,” said Mayor Ducey.

FEMA CANCELS TOWNSHIP’S $5M SANDY LOAN

Mayor John G. Ducey is proud to announce that the Township of Brick has been informed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that they have fully forgiven the $5 million Community Disaster Loan that was issued in 2013. FEMA had previously rejected a request by the Township to forgive the loan.

“This is great news for the taxpayers of Brick Township,” said Mayor Ducey. “The recovery from Super Storm Sandy has been a long and costly process for our community. The cancellation of the $5 million will remove a significant burden from our taxpayers, many of whom experienced tremendous loss during Sandy.”

FEMA’s evaluation of Brick Township’s request to cancel the Community Disaster Loan showed an operating deficit of $15,010,062 during the time period. The deficit was largely created in the immediate aftermath of Sandy and was due to expenses and loss of tax revenue.

Super Storm Sandy hit New Jersey on October 29, 2012. Brick Township was one of the communities severely impacted by the storm.

Mayor Ducey appreciates FEMA’s reevaluation of the cancellation request. “On behalf of the township and our taxpayers, I would like to thank FEMA for fully forgiving this loan. We did what was necessary after Sandy to start Brick Township on the path to recovery and the Community Disaster Loan was a large part of that. With the loan forgiven, it is one more step in moving forward.”

PERMITS FOR BEACH VEHICLES AVAILABLE AGAIN

For the first time since Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012, the Township of Brick will be making permits for operating motor vehicles on beaches available. The permits will allow beach access to vehicles from October 1st through April 30th.

“After nearly seven years, we are pleased to finally reopen our beaches to vehicles in the offseason and allow people to once again enjoy activities such as surf fishing,” said Mayor John G. Ducey. “We thank everyone for their patience and understanding throughout the recovery and replenishment of our beaches.”

Beach vehicle permit applications are available online and in the Municipal Clerk’s Office. The permit application fee is $35.

Beach access will be available at Brick Beach One only.

All vehicles are subject to an inspection by the Brick Township Police Department before a permit is approved. The inspection schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesdays – September 4, 11, 18, 25 – 6pm-9pm
  • Fridays – September 6, 13, 20, 27 – 6pm-9pm
  • Saturdays – September 7, 14, 21, 28 – 9am-3pm

Applications must be completed prior to inspection. Applications must include $35, copy of valid driver’s license, copy of valid vehicle registration. Applications can be submitted in the Clerk’s Office, to Traffic Safety at the time of inspection  and mailed to the Clerk’s Office. Applications submitted to Traffic Safety and through mail are payable only by checks payable to Twp of Brick.  Permits for applications submitted to Traffic Safety and through the mail will be mailed the following business day.

For more information call the Township Clerk at 732-262-1001.

SENIOR SHUTTLE TO PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION TO CONCERTS

The Brick Township Senior Shuttle will be providing door-to-door rides to and from the Traders Cove Concert series to residents ages 60 and over who lack their own transportation. Seating is very limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The concert schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, August 7 – Basso Brothers (rain date 8/8)
  • Wednesday, August 14 – Tim McLoone & The Shirleys (rain date 8/15)
  • Wednesday, August 21 – Motor City Revue (rain date 8/22)
  • Wednesday, August 28 – DJ Chris Anthony & Peter Carter’s Tribute to the King of Pop (rain date 8/29)

Concerts are free to attend and begin at 7pm. Seniors attending the concerts by bus will be provided chairs in a designated location. Any eligible resident wishing to schedule a ride to the Traders Cove Concert Series should call Senior Services at 732-920-8686.

The Senior Shuttle is a new transportation service introduced by Mayor Ducey this year. The Senior Shuttle offers transportation for residents ages 60 and over to the Senior Center, local shopping areas and points of interest.

MAYOR DUCEY TO ATTEND SCHOOL FUNDING PROTEST IN TRENTON

Mayor John G. Ducey will be joining Brick school officials at the March On Trenton on Tuesday, March 5 to protest millions of dollars in school aid being taken from the Brick Township School District as a result of the School Funding Reform Act

“The state aid cuts are having a severe negative impact on our schools and on our community,” said Mayor Ducey.  “If they are allowed to continue, these cuts are going to result in higher taxes, staff cuts, larger class sizes and the likely elimination of clubs and athletic programs. This is devastating for our students and outrageously unfair. This could lead to families leaving Brick for school districts that weren’t impacted by the School Funding Reform Act.”

The Brick School District has already lost approximately $1.9 million in state aid and is anticipating an additional cut of $2.8 million for the 2019-2020 year – a cumulative loss of $4.7 million. The District anticipates a cumulative loss of $23 million over 6 years.

“This is completely unacceptable. It is no wonder that people are so angry with our leaders in Trenton,” said Mayor Ducey.

The March On Trenton is being timed to coincide with Governor Murphy’s annual budget address. Mayor Ducey will join thousands of people from throughout the state who are part of the Support Our Students (S.O.S) Coalition. S.O.S represents 71 districts affected by the new state aid rules.

Buses have been arranged for the March and they will depart from the former Foodtown site on Route 70 at 11:30am on March 5. Anyone wishing to ride the bus should contact the Brick Schools to inquire about availability or visit their website at www.brickschools.org.  Anyone wishing to attend and drive themselves is being encouraged to be at Trenton by 1pm

Mayor Ducey encourages all citizens to make their voices heard by contacting Governor Murphy and state legislators about restoring our state aid by writing letters, sending emails, calling them and reaching out on social media.

 

MAYOR ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY FOR HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS AND SENIORS

Mayor John G. Ducey would like to inform high school juniors and seniors in Brick Township about a scholarship opportunity offered by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. The League is offering three $1,000 scholarships through the Louis Bay 2nd Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Competition. The statewide competition centers on the theme “What My Municipal Government Does Best” and seeks to advance the virtues of elected members of municipal government.

“Brick Township has many exceptional young students. I encourage all juniors and seniors to participate in this scholarship competition and show just how exceptional, talented and dedicated the young people of our community are,” said Mayor Ducey.

Applicants will be required to write an essay of approximately 500 words with the theme “What My Municipal Government Does Best.” The essay should be based on the applicant’s perceptions and experiences with your municipality’s local government and should consider the public contribution of the municipal government. Judging is based solely on the essay including originality, technical composition and appropriateness and effective articulation of theme.

Students wishing to apply for the scholarship competition can download the 2019 NJSLOM Scholarship Application Packet. If you would like to request an application by email, please send an email to emoroney@twp.brick.nj.us.

The scholarship is open to all high school juniors and seniors. Residents who live in Brick but attend schools in other communities should return their application to Mayor Ducey’s office.

A committee will select one essay from Brick Township as a semi-finalist. That application will be forwarded and reviewed by the NJSLOM Scholarship Committee. That committee will select 15 finalists and 3 winners. The winners will each receive a $1,000 scholarship and their essay will be featured in New Jersey Municipalities Magazine.

All applications must be returned to Mayor Ducey’s office by March 11, 2019. Completed applications should be mailed to Mayor John Ducey, Attention: NJSLOM Scholarship, 401 Chambers Bridge Road, Brick, NJ, 08723.

MAYOR AND COUNCIL LOOKING FOR CANDIDATES FOR HOUSING AUTHORITY BOARD

Mayor Ducey and the Township Council are seeking residents interested in serving on the Board of Commissioners of the Brick Township Housing Authority.

The Brick Township Housing Authority is an autonomous authority whose primary mission is to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing to low-income residents of Brick Township. The Housing Authority is federally funded and provides assistance to residents via the Public Housing Program and the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

“The Housing Authority serves some of the most vulnerable people of our community and as such, we are seeking residents who are compassionate and have a desire to make a positive difference in people’s lives,” said Mayor Ducey.

Members of the Housing Authority are appointed by the Mayor, the Township Council and the Governor. The Board meets on the last Monday of each month.

Interested citizens should forward their resume accompanied by a cover letter to Mayor Ducey by the end of business on Friday, February 8. Resumes and cover letters can be emailed to mayor@bricktownship.net or mailed to Mayor John G. Ducey, 401 Chambers Bridge Road, Brick, NJ, 08723.

TOWNSHIP SUPPORTS LOCAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS

Mayor John G. Ducey and the Township Council presented checks to representatives of local service providers at the December 18, 2018 Council meeting.  The checks, which range from $1,000 to $8,000, are from funding the Township receives as part of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)–Public Services Program  The checks will assist the organizations in providing a wide variety of services to the public in our community.

Every year, the Township receives grant money from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program which is in turn passed on to local service providers.   The Township identifies issues of concern in the community and then provides the Federal funds to the organizations most appropriate to address those issues.  This year, the Township granted a total of $44,400 to these organizations. The Township also administers Housing Rehabilitation Projects and Public Infrastructure improvements through funding received from the CDBG Program annually.

The CDBG program has been providing communities with these funds since it began in 1974.

“I cannot understate the importance of the organizations that we are awarding these funds to tonight. These groups are in the community every day making a difference in people’s lives,” said Mayor Ducey. “We are proud and honored and support them in their missions.”

The CDBG Check recipients are:

  • Church of the Epiphany, St. Vincent DePaul Society – Volunteers provide counseling to those in need to manage housing expenses and provide financial assistance to cover food, clothing, utilities and rent. For more information please call 732-458-0220.
  • Community Services, Inc. of Ocean County/Meals on Wheels – Through its ‘Meals on Wheels’ program, Community Services Inc. provides nutritious meals to homebound elderly in their own homes. The program also serves meals daily to seniors at the Brick Township Senior Center on Adamston Road.   For more information, please call 732-367-1400 or the Brick Senior Center at 732-920-8686.
  • Church of the Visitation – The Church of the Visitation on Mantoloking Road hosts a community lunch on the third Wednesday of each month. Lunches are free and available from 12pm-1pm. For more information call 732-255-2835.
  • CONTACT of Ocean and Monmouth Counties – CONTACT of Ocean & Monmouth Counties is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides trained telephone listeners who respond to human needs 24-hours a day. They offer free confidential crisis intervention, information on available resources and referral to community services. For more information call 732-240-6104. Their crisis hotline can be reached at 732-240-6100 or 609-693-5834.
  • Dottie’s House – Dottie’s House provides transitional housing for victims of domestic violence and their children. These grant funds will help offset the operating costs for the transitional housing facility. They may be reached at 732-295-7380.
  • Interfaith Hospitality Network of Ocean County – There are times when families face becoming homeless because of personal, financial or medical reasons. Interfaith Homeless Assistance provides a safety net program for Brick Township residents who face becoming homeless. They may be reached at 732-736-1550.
  • Ocean’s Harbor House – Ocean’s Harbor House provides free short-term shelter and crisis intervention for male and female youth ages 10-17. Any youth who is homeless, has runaway, been thrown away or abused, or is otherwise in need of immediate intervention may find help 24 hours a day at this safe haven.   Their Shelter Services 24 Hours/Day Hotline is 732-929-0660 and their Outreach Center phone number is 732-929-0096.
  • Providence House – A division of Catholic Charities, Providence House provides a wide variety of services related to preventing domestic violence and assisting its victims.   For many years, the Township has worked with Providence House to fight domestic violence in our community. Providence House may be reached at 732-350-2120.
  • The Arc, Ocean County Chapter – The Arc, Ocean County Chapter advocates for, provides supports and empowers children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families, ensuring they are accepted and valued as citizens of our community.  The Arc does this through vocational, recreational, family support, residential, transportation and primary medical care programs. Their phone number is 732-363-3335 ext. 115.
  • Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey – Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey is a non-profit interfaith organization that provides volunteers to assist frail elderly with simple daily tasks enabling them to live, with dignity, where they are most comfortable – in their own homes. And there is never a charge for help provided! Their phone number is 732-505-2273.
  • Jersey Shore Council Boy Scouts of America – Jersey Shore Council, Boy Scouts of America, headquartered in Toms River, serves more than 6,000 young people in four Jersey Shore counties: Atlantic, Ocean, Southeast Burlington and Ocean City in Cape May County. It is among the largest youth serving organizations in the state of New Jersey led by approximately 2,000 volunteers. For more information call 732-349-1037.
  • STEPS – STEPS (Solutions to End Poverty Soon) works to solve the problems of poverty including lack of affordable housing, food instability, access to health care and decent wages. For more information call 732-367-1640.

Brick Township’s CDBG Program is administered by the Township’s Land Use Office and Township Planner Tara Paxton. Groups wanting more information on how to apply for CDBG funding from the township can call 732-262-1039.

 

MAYOR SEEKS CITIZENS INTERESTED IN SERVING ON BOARDS AND COMMITTEES

Any citizen interested on serving as a member on one of the township’s various boards or committees should send an email with a resume and cover letter to Mayor John Ducey before or on Thursday, January 3.

“These boards not only play an important role in shaping our community, they offer citizens the opportunity to give back and help move Brick Township forward,” said Mayor Ducey. “I encourage any person interested in serving our community to send their resume to my office this week. Every person will be considered and we will make every effort to make sure everyone who would like to serve has the opportunity to do so.”

There are upcoming appointments available for the following boards/committees:

  • Environmental Commission – is responsible for the protection, development and use of natural resources, including water resources located within the township.
  • Historic Preservation Commission – works to encourage the use, restoration and preservation of historic structures in Brick Township.
  • Board of Adjustment – primary function is to review and decide on applications for a variance.
  • Property Maintenance Board – works to determine the course of action owners of property’s deemed in violation of the Property Maintenance Code must take in regards to the rehabilitation of their properties.
  • BMAC – mission is to provide substance abuse prevention programs and services for the community.

“Anyone interested in serving should send their resume with a cover letter by January 3 to make sure they are considered,” said Mayor Ducey.

Resumes and cover letters should be emailed to mayor@twp.brick.nj.us no later than 5pm on January 3. While efforts will be made to place citizens on requested boards, it will not be possible in all instances due to availability.