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The Washington Township Police Department is warning people to beware of an internet scam where someone offers to buy your car with a certified check and comes up with a reason to write the check for significantly more than the asking price and requests the seller wire the difference to someone (most often claimed to cover "shipping" charges). They will send you a counterfeit check and your bank may clear the check, however, in a week or so, the check turns out to be counterfeit and the bank requires the car seller (you) to cover the money for the phony check. Banks will often release funds against your account after 3-5 days, regardless of whether a checks funds have actually cleared and been deposited into your account.To avoid falling for such a scam call the bank who issued the check prior to depositing it and confirm that it is legitimate, then, wait seven to ten days after deposit to find out if the check has cleared the issuing bank before doing anything with that money or handing over the title to the car.

When in doubt, please contact the police department with any questions or concerns. 



Black bears have been sighted in the Township of Washington over the past several days. The following is an excerpt from an article on how to deal with black bears in residential areas. If bears are seen in the township do not approach them and please contact the police department and give us the location.

Are bears dangerous?
Most injuries associated with bear­human encounters are the result of people feeding bears or when bears are feeding on human sources of food. Simply observing a bear walking through a yard is not cause for alarm. Make sure all garbage is stored or handled as described below and do not provoke or feed the bear. Alert others in the area and request that everyone follow the same procedures.

What attracts bears into a residential area?
Often, houses are located in proximity to areas occupied by bears. Bears will naturally investigate food odors and are attracted to many different foods such as garbage, bird seed and suet, pet foods, compost piles and grease on barbecue grills. Once a bear receives a "reward" such as one of these foods, it may return to the same area several times (even after food is removed) or search around the general area for similar foods. Some bears become fairly tolerant of humans in these situations and appear tame. Remember, bears are wild animals, and are unpredictable. Therefore, the solution to most bear problems is to remove the source of attraction before conflicts occur.

Most problems are temporary
Most bear problems in residential areas are temporary and usually occur in the spring and summer months. Between the time bears emerge from their dens and summer foods such as berries ripen, natural food supplies are low and not very nutritious. This causes bears to travel more in search of food. Also, breeding season occurs from June to August and male bears tend to roam more in search of mates. Finally, during this same time period, young males are dispersing to new territories and often wander into residential areas. Usually dispersing bears remain in an area less than 2 weeks. By keeping food away from bears during those times of increased travel, many problems may be avoided.

Why not just move problem bears?
There are several reasons why moving problem bears is not an option. First and foremost, moving a bear does not address the problem. If the problem is not fixed, other bears will move in to take advantage of the food source or, the bear that was moved may return to become a problem once more. Second, catching a wild animal such as a bear puts both bears and people at risk of injury, especially in residential areas. Finally, there are no longer areas that are sufficiently remote to ensure that a relocated bear would not encounter other residences and possibly become a nuisance there.

How are bear problems best handled?
There are many things that can be done to minimize or eliminate the chances that bears will get into garbage or become a problem in an area. Any of the methods described below work best if implemented as soon as the problem starts, or better still, before problems occur. Once a bear establishes a feeding pattern, it will take longer to encourage the bear to move on. By following some of the tips listed below, residents can usually prevent the bear from being rewarded the first time.

  • Do not allow bears access to garbage or other food. Store garbage inside buildings or other areas that bears cannot get to. Do not feed bears under any circumstances. If the area is served by a garbage collection service, place garbage out only during the day of collection. Under no circumstances should garbage be left out overnight. Keep all garbage sites clean. Do not leave pet foods out overnight. If bird feeders have been visited by a bear, stop feeding birds for 1 to 2 weeks. Persons living in bear range should install "bear­proof" containers or use dumpsters with heavy gauge metal lids as a longterm solution to bear problems.
  • Repellents. There are no repellents that are registered for use on bears. Some have found that sprinkling ammonia or other strong disinfectants on garbage can mask the odor of food.
  • Exclusion. The following have helped to prevent bear damage. Make sure dumpsters are bolted and locked and chain down heavy metal garbage cans and secure the lids. Wood or plastic dumpster lids do not keep bears out. Replace these with metal lids that can be locked and make sure sliding side doors can be latched so only humans can open them. Fencing in dumpsters or garbage collection areas can be very effective. A chain link fence with a barbwire overhang can work well.
  • Frightening or scaring the bear. Shouting, clapping, blasting a car horn or motion­sensitive lights may scare off a bear temporarily. Do not taunt a bear if it fails to respond to your efforts to frighten it. These methods are only temporary solutions.
  • Crowd Control. Sometimes when a bear sighted, crowds may gather. This seemingly harmless situation can be aggravated or became potentially harmful as the crowd grows. People can cause bears to display unpredictable behavior. Law enforcement personnel should disperse crowds and allow the bear to exit without interference.



      During the last few months, there has been an increase of diversion type burglary activity throughout Bergen County. In each case, a residence has been approached by a subject identifying himself as an employee of a utility such as the water company. Generally, the victims have been elderly. The subject is allowed into the home where he will distract the victim while an accomplice will search the home for valuables. The theft may not be discovered immediately. Residents are advised not to allow anyone entry into their homes without proper identification. If there is any doubt or suspicion, call the Police immedialely.



    One of the more serious crimes occurring within the Township, is the forced entry into a residence commonly called Burglary. Usually the home is vacant. Past experience has indicated that most burglars look for homes that appear to be vacant. Indications of this are: no lights on inside and outside of the home during the evening hours and mail or newspapers that are left accumulating. The majority of residential burglaries committed occur during the evening hours. Most burglars target bedrooms in search of jewelry and cash. The typical burglary may take only a minute or two.

    There are several measures that can be taken to prevent your home from being a target. The most obvious being, keep the house well lighted so it appears to be occupied. When not at home and during vacation periods, have several lights on timers. Use motion detectors on the exterior of the home. Make arrangements with a neighbor to pick up mail and newspapers. Keep windows and doors secured with quality locks. Deadbolt locks can be a deterrent. Find a place within the home to store valuables, specifically jewelry, out of view. Report your home as vacant to the Police before leaving for vacation.

    Residents are requested to report any and all suspicious persons, vehicles, noises or anything else they may believe to be unusual in there neighborhoods regardless of the time of day.

    Solicitors within the Township must display a Town issued permit in clear view. Thorough background checks are conducted prior to the issuance of a solicitor’s permit.

    Telephone solicitation is a growing problem. Local Police Departments do not solicit by phone. This Department is a member of New Jersey P.B.A. Local 206. There is an annual mailed fundraising letter.

    For more info, e-mail us at:

    Terrorism Preparedness

    The FBI defines terrorism as "The unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in the furtherance of political or social objectives".

    Terrorism can occur through the use of guns, bombs or arson, but biological, chemical, radiological, and computer (cyberterrorism) means can be used. Terrorism preparedness encompasses good crime prevention plus:


    • Be aware of your surroundings - be alert for suspicious activity or packages.
    • Do not touch suspicious packages or items- contact the proper authority.
    • Know where exits are - especially in public assembly areas.
    • Dial 9-1-1 to report emergencies that require police, fire or EMS
    • Have an emergency kit in your home and car. An emergency kit can help you with man-made emergencies (like power failures or terrorism) or natural disasters (like floods or storms). An emergency kit can include (at a minimum):
      • First aid supplies
      • Flashlight with extra batteries
      • Non-perishable food
      • Drinking water
      • Blanket(s) or sleeping bag(s)
      • Rain gear or change of clothing


    Weapons of Mass Destruction & B-NICE

    Weapons of Mass Destruction or WMD are meant to terrorize a population by inflicting many casualties or deaths. wMD can fall into one of five categories represented by the acronym B-NICE.

    B - Biological
    N - Nuclear
    I - Incendiary
    C - Chemical
    E - Explosive

    Although the threats of varying hazards are real - conventional explosives will continue to be the method of choice for terrorists.

    For the Computer System...

    • All accounts should have passwords that are difficult to guess. Change passwords frequently.
    • Audit systems and check logs to help in detecting and tracing an intruder.
    • If you are ever unsure about the safety of a site, or receive suspicious e-mail from an unknown address, don't access it. It could be trouble.
    • Change the network configuration when defects become known.


    • Don't discuss personal matters such as travel plans, your job, or your family with people you don't know.
    • Vary your route to and from work, and the time you arrive and depart.
    • Avoid routines (time & location) for shopping, lunch, etc.
    • Become familiar with the environment. You must know what is normal to be able to detect what is unusual.
    • Avoid public disputes or confrontations.

    Contingency Planning
    Emergency contingency plans should include:

    • Procedure for contacting police/fire/EMS
    • Duress communication procedures
      -Code words with work or home to communicate an emergency
    • Emergency phone lists (contacts, resources, personnel)
    • Evacuation routes, assembly areas for evacuated personnel and alternates
    • Command post & liaison procedures with police, fire & EMS

    For the Office...

    • Prepare contingency plans in the event of an emergency - coordinate these plans with the local emergency services.
    • Ensure that all personnel are familiar with the appropriate section of these emergency plans and their role.
    • Security is everyone's concern. All staff should be aware and abide by security procedures.
    • Report suspicious persons to the appropriate agency.
    • Do not give information on personnel or operations over the telephone to strangers.
    • Place a barrier between staff and the reception area. Visitors/maintenance personnel should always be escorted.
    • Lock private toilets, unused closets and offices, etc...
    • Institute visitor control procedures.
    • Dangerous devices can come in by mail. Ensure that mail receiving personnel are aware what to look for.
    • Be alert for suspicious persons, packages, mail and cars within and near the building.
    • Do not mark parking spaces; vary parking places.

    Disaster Psychology Preparedness

    When disaster strikes, physical assistance may not be only part of what survivors need. "Psychological First Aid" for disaster-induced stress and trauma will help the survivors.

    Disaster-induced stress and trauma are "normal reactions" to and "abnormal" event.

    Emotional reactions will vary and may be influenced by:

    • Prior experience with the same or similar event
    • The intensity and length of the event
    • Pre-incident stressors
    • The length of time since the event
    • Loss of loved ones, housing, etc...

    Emotional reactions can vary depending upon the phase of the event:

    • Before the event, as concern escalates and information is made available through the media and the authorities
    • During the event's impact - responding to the immediate effects of the disaster
    • Immediately after the event's impact when rescue may be needed
    • Immediately after the event when an inventory is made of losses - personal and material
    • Well after the event during recovery

    Traumatic Stress Reactions
    A traumatic stress reaction is an emotional aftershock of a disaster or other significantly stressful event. Symptoms may occur immediately after the event or weeks after the event is over.

    Some common signs/symptoms of emotional reactions to a disaster:

    • Physical
      • Nausea and/or upset stomach
      • Dizziness
      • Headache
      • Restlessness
      • Difficulty sleeping
    • Emotional
      • Anxiety and/or fear
      • Guilt
      • Grief and/or depression
      • Anger
    • Cognitive
      • Nightmares
      • Confusion and/or disorientation
      • Difficulty concentrating
    • Behavioral
      • Avoidance and/or withdrawing
      • Emotional outbursts
      • Erratic behavior


    Emergency Contacts

    Emotional emergencies or information 24 hours a day in Bergen: 262-HELP (201-262-4357)

    Physical emergencies - dial 9-1-1

    Taking care of yourself following a traumatic event...

    • Try to rest a bit more
    • Contact friends and talk
    • Re-establish your normal schedule as soon as possible
    • Fight against boredom
    • Physical activity can be helpful
    • Eat well-balanced and regular meals (even when you don't fell like it)
    • Avoid alcohol and drugs taken with out physician recommendation/prescription
    • Recurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks are normal - don't try to fight them - they'll decrease over time and be less painful
    • Seek out professional help if the feelings become prolonged or intense

    Taking care of others following a traumatic event...

    • Listen carefully
    • Spend time with the traumatized person
    • Offer your assistance and a lending ear even if they have not asked for help
    • Help them with the everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for children, etc.
    • Give them time to be alone
    • Help them stay away from alcohol and drugs
    • Keep in mind what they've been through
    • Don't try to explain it away
    • Don't tell them that they are lucky it wasn't worse
    • Don't take their anger, other feelings or outbursts personally

    Get further assistance...

    • The person is having life-threatening symptoms
    • The person is suicidal or homicidal
    • The person is out of control


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