Byram Township to receive 2018 Ford F150 Enforcer as foreiture asset

| 07 Feb 2019 | 09:03

By Mandy Coriston
Byram - The Byram Township Police Department will soon take possession of a 2018 Ford F150 Enforcer pick-up truck, at no cost to taxpayers. It'll be funded as part of a program under which law enforcement agencies are offered a portion of forfeiture assets, through the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office.
“The money is managed by the prosecutor’s office,” Byram Chief of Police Pete Zabita said at the Byram Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5. "It allows us to request or purchase equipment that our towns may not be able to budget for, or things that go beyond capital spending."
The Byram Police Department was granted $41,000 for the acquisition of the truck.
Under the New Jersey Attorney General’s Guidelines for Forfeiture, the goal is to put unlawfully obtained proceeds of criminal activity to good use on behalf of the local police departments who helped in the prosecutor's investigation of that criminal activity. Zabita explained that the money in the county’s forfeiture fund is divvied up amongst law enforcement agencies based on their level of participation in major investigations on the local, state, and federal level.
Byram Councilman Scott Olson queried Zabita about using forfeiture assets for cameras or other gear.
“The money is to be used for specialty gear or vehicles,” he said, “and the system is in place to allow us some funding that’s outside of the control of our town’s governing bodies. It’s there so the police can use it for special needs, not for what our towns should already be providing us.”
After a brief discussion about the purchase, the Council passed Resolution 049-2019, accepting receipt of the vehicle. The F150 Enforcer will become the Chief’s command car, allowing the department’s Chevrolet Tahoe to go back in service on regular patrol.
“This new truck is multi-purpose,” Zabita said, “and will help us move cargo like our range gear, tow our trailer, and it’s 4-wheel drive; and while it will have pursuit capabilities, it makes more sense to put the Tahoe on the road full-time because it’s an enclosed vehicle that can hold all our everyday equipment.”
Zabita has been pressing to have more 4WD vehicles in his fleet but the town council has yet to come to a consensus, divided by the cost of the larger automobiles. The aforementioned Tahoe was also not purchased with town funds, but was obtained with PSE&G grant money; BTPD’s previous 4x4’s, a pair of Chevy Blazers, were military surplus vehicles.