Two years ago: Atlantic County considers countywide dispatch system

After sending letters to all of its municipalities asking if they would be interested in developing a countywide dispatch system, the county is still willing to work on the proposal. However, it has not had commitments from all of the towns.

The county's plans include building a $16 million facility, paying for $11 million worth of equipment and software, and employing 120 personnel at a cost of $9 million per year to operate the facility, Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson said.

Levinson said the county had a meeting with local police chiefs in November, and some of the towns seem in favor of the plan but others like their current arrangement.

He said the county will not move forward unless everyone is on board.

"It's a very expensive undertaking," he said. "If towns are interested in doing it, they need to let us know."

Six years ago: Absecon suspends its bicycle cop program

The Absecon Police Department instituted its bicycle cop program in 1996 with six officers, but during the next 10 years they were all promoted to higher ranks and the department did not have enough officers to refill the patrol.

But Chief Dave Risley, who was one of the founding patrol officers, said he plans to train new officers in the new year and fully reinstate the program by the summer.

The department has all the equipment, but the officers need to attend a one-week bike patrol training school before they can begin, he said.

Risley, who was appointed chief in February, said the department will put more of a focus toward community policing, and the bike patrol is a good way to cover a wide area and meet with residents face to face.

"We will try to use it as much as possible," he said.

Seven months ago: Plans move forward on new Egg Harbor Township park

The township is continuing to make preparations for the new nature preserve and park.

The Township Committee set hours at its Dec. 19 meeting that allow the preserve to be open from sunrise to sundown, Committeewoman Laura Pfrommer said. She said the measure was needed to allow for changes to the 220-acre site in the township's Scullville section.

The township plans to turn the park - part of which was a former illegal soil-mining operation - into a nature preserve and recreation area with walking trails and a manmade park.

The township formed an eight-member committee June 20 that has recommended the park accommodate fishermen, hikers, kayakers and picnickers. The plan opposes ATVs, dirt bikes, horseback riding and paintball, all activities that have been problems in the area.

The township also has an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to repair some of the environmental impacts of the former mine.

"It will be wonderful," Pfrommer said. "We can't wait."

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