Do not disturb: Washington Township adopts “Do Not Knock” ordinance

After close to three months the do not knock registry will finally be in effect

Council Vice President Sean Longfellow introduced an ordinance at the May 23 meeting that implements a “Do Not Knock” registry for residents. On Sept. 12, that ordinance was adopted.

Back in May, Longfellow described the concept.

“I think this is a good thing for Washington Township,” he said. “Senior citizens are at risk, they’re always the targets of these types of scams and gypsies.”

He added violators will be subject to a fine.

Brian Dickerson, a resident of Washington Township, spoke in support of the ordinance.

“All across New Jersey, municipalities have adopted similar ordinances to the one under consideration tonight with the means of protecting the privacy and safety of residents,” he said. “I urge you to adopt this. We the residents should have the ability to determine who knocks on our door to the best of our ability.”

Council went on to pass 19 resolutions, including approving a fireworks display on Oct. 26 at Washington Township High School during the Homecoming dance, approving a community fun day on Sept. 22 for Washington Baptist Church and awarding a contract for the purchase of new firearms for the Washington Township Police Department.

Chief Pat Gurcsik issued a statement on the new firearms: “The purchase of the new handguns is mostly a matter of public safety,” he said. “You might ask what the life expectancy of a police duty weapon. I was at a county chief’s meeting this morning, most departments purchase new handguns every five to eight years. Our current issued [firearms] are seven to 10 years old.”

The old weapons are being sold back to the manufacturer. According to Solicitor Stuart Platt, the gross cost of the new firearms is $49,277, the trade in value for the old firearms is $29,430, thus the net cost is $19,347.

In other news:

  • Washington Township’s annual cleanup day is set for Oct. 13.

“Whatever your community group is in Washington Township, bring them out, clean up areas in the community, pick up trash, do some service projects. If you’re interested it’s a good day to get everybody together,” Longfellow said.

  • There are a few events coming up in the coming weeks. On Sept. 22, there’s a Harvest Festival at the Olde Stone House. On Sept. 30, the NJ Craft Beer Tailgate Festival will be at Washington Lake Park, and on Sept. 29, there will be a “best of block” party at the high school that will have vendors, food trucks, music and more.
  • Nancy Mozzachio, economic development consultant, gave a report on the town’s economic development, including the importance of the medical centers housed in Washington Township.

“A long-term plan is to truly promote that we are the medical hub in Southern New Jersey,” she said. “On the existing business side, this past month we signed two more merchants in Shop Washington Township. We’re holding a mixer in late October with existing merchants and others who have expressed interest but aren’t yet committed. Our existing businesses are champions for Washington Township, who better to advise new businesses when asked about the township than our existing businesses? We’re marrying the two together, we’re creating an environment that’s enticing to bring new businesses in while nurturing, caring and recognizing existing businesses in town.”

  • Council President Joe Perry spoke to the importance of recognizing phone scams.

“A lot of scams are out where they’re targeting seniors,” he said. “People are calling and saying their grandchild is arrested and they need bail money. We need to let seniors know to be aware of these scams. They don’t need to give out credit card numbers, they shouldn’t be calling and wiring money or anything like that.”

  • The next council meeting is on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.