We Can Not Thank You Enough
Interview and Article by Andrea Jackson, Executive Director, The 200 Club of Bergen County
The 200 Club of Bergen County would like to give a sincere “Note of Thanks“ to all of our First Responders working through this very difficult time. They are all deserving of our gratitude and our support in any way we can show it.
We are highlighting individual First Responder Departments in Bergen County to both thank them individually and give them the recognition they deserve as they lead the fight – at great risk to themselves – against Covid-19.
Today, we would like to specifically thank and recognize the Ft.Lee Police Department. The Ft. Lee Police Department has a roster of 90 plus members. Ft. Lee has 37,000 plus residents in 2.9 square miles, a very busy business district with shops and restaurants, and is the location of incoming and outgoing traffic to the George Washington Bridge, one of the busiest bridge crossings in the United States. Thus, the task of policing Ft. Lee is challenging on a good day!
We recently reached out to Police Chief Matthew Hintze who began his new post in the department as of last June. The following is what we learned.
Chief Hintze was able to talk to us before having another conference call, of which he said there are many these days. Chief Hintze also stated this is now about doing your best to implement safe distancing and coordinating efforts within a City in which there are a lot of moving parts. The “old school” ways, for now, have changed: internal conduct, scheduling, and the processing of incoming calls to the Department are being executed differently.
Many of the changes have become necessary as the department roster fluctuates as some members are in self-isolation and schedules are revised as well to lessen internal exposure. Chief Hintze praised his department members for adapting well to all of these changes, despite the stress that it creates.
Like other City Police Departments throughout Bergen County, they are also short on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); they are doing the best they can with what they have.
Chief Hintze confirmed what we, sadly, are all experiencing when he said “there isn’t anyone of us that hasn’t been personally touched by someone infected with Covid-19. Our department suffered a tragic loss recently, as one of our records clerks, who dedicated 40 plus years of her life to the department, lost her battle to Covid-19.”
According to Chief Hintze, most residents are adhering to the Stay-At-Home orders. Unfortunately, there are exceptions and department members continue to put themselves on the front lines, even at their own risk. Chief Hintze stated how proud he was of the men and women in the Ft. Lee Police Department that, despite the risks to their own health and well being, they continue to fulfill their responsibilities and serve the community in every way possible.
In his early years, Chief Hintze was a volunteer for the fire department and ambulance corps. He stated that all Ft. Lee Departments and the Ft. Lee City Government are working hard and doing their part to combat the spread of Covid-19 and care for those that fall ill from it; they are all in it together and it takes a team effort to combat this insidious virus and truly serve the best interests of the community.
Near the end of our conversation, Chief Hintze stated that in normal times, Ft. Lee struggles daily with high traffic volume. On the positive side, “traffic is almost non-existent now that almost everything is shut down.” However, ”he would trade it in a minute to see his hometown, Ft. Lee, up and running again.”
We all would like to see our lives back to normal and “up and running” again. It is with the service of the brave men and women of the Ft. Lee Police Department and others like them that will see us through these very difficult times and provide the means to restore our lives “back to normal.” So, to all at the Ft. Lee Police department, you have our heartfelt gratitude, appreciation, and support. We can never thank you enough for being there for us in this crucial time of need.