Council President Robert Bicocchi & Councilwoman Beth Dell are proud to have supported the new striping on Westwood Ave, Washington Avenue, and Park Place to honor and support our Westwood Police Officers as well as our Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Corp. These symbols are a reminder to them that their governing body and community stand with them.
Councilman Ray Arroyo, who is an avid supporter of both Rob and Beth, wrote a letter published in the Bergen Record detailing the importance of the blue and red lines featured throughout Westwood:
Nothing Divisive About Blue Lines
Westwood's governing body, of which I am a member, recently voted unanimously to join the "blue line" municipalities and did so with none of the uncertainty, or outright hostility to the gesture exhibited by some.
We are a fairly diverse community. The 2010 Census reports a non-white population of 23.3 percent. One of Westwood's former police chiefs is an African-American, as is a veteran detective. We also have racial and ethnic diversity among police reserves and our auxiliary officers.
We are aware that some have found the gesture "divisive." However, Westwood doesn't suffer from an "us against them" mentality with respect to our police officers. They protect and serve all of us — equally.
Furthermore, the Westwood Police Department is an accredited agency adhering to policies and procedures that exceed the state attorney general's guidelines on racial profiling and discriminatory practices. Our officers, by strictly following these enhanced protocols, protect themselves, their colleagues, the public at large and the individuals who they must necessarily interdict in carrying out their sworn duties.
Westwood's police officers don't go to work with hearts full of bias ("implicit" or otherwise), intending to shoot unarmed men. They go to work intending to protect every citizen in our diverse community against illegally armed men and against bias.
Taking a knee during the national anthem to acknowledge our shortcomings is supported, by some, as a noble gesture. Yet painting a stripe in the road to acknowledge the 99 percent of good cops who keep us safe, is somehow problematic?
Divisiveness is in the myopic eye of those who choose to revel in it.