The Morris County Sheriff's Office will be resuming cooperative public safety patrols with the New Jersey State Police this 2022 Summer season on Lake Hopatcong.
New additions to the patrol functions are Morris County Sheriff's Office operated vessels to bolster the mission of doubling police presence on the lake.
The MCSO Marine Police Unit was recently pressed into service by supporting Jefferson Township firefighters and citizens on Halsey Island, Lake Hopatcong.
A fire occurred on the island, damaging property and electrical lines. Marine police officers utilized the police vessel "Marine One" to shuttle firefighters from shore to the location of the blaze.
The fire was extinguished in short order with no injuries and only minor property damage.
This year, the Morris County Sheriff's Office has three watercrafts available for patrol. The Office will launch lake patrols from the docks at the Windlass property.
A partnership was formed between the Sheriff's Office and the owners of the Windlass property.
This partnership with the Windlass has been tremendous and is greatly appreciated by Sheriff James M. Gannon.
The owners and managers of the Windlass property share a mutual feeling about the arrangement.
The utilization of the Windlass location as a base of operations has proven to be extremely valuable and advantageous.
"The increased participation of the Morris County Sheriff's Office at Lake Hopatcong is a real game-changer," Marty Kane, Chair of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, said.
"Anyone who uses the lake on summer weekends knows how incredibly busy it gets presenting many challenges. The collaboration between the Sheriff's Office, the State Police, and local municipalities is just outstanding and will make the lake safer."
The Marine Police Unit has a cadre of thirteen trained officers who will work the lake during peak hours.
All officers must log their hours spent on boat patrol. The sheriff's officers assigned to the unit must possess a boating license issued by the State of New Jersey, train in boater safety, water survival, water rescue, and with the New Jersey State Police, train in vessel operations as well as personal watercraft operations.
The training also includes education on vessel maintenance. The Marine Unit works with the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Park Police, and other local agencies as needed.
The unit is also supported by elements of the MCSO Emergency Services Unit and Community Outreach and Planning Section.
Events on boater safety are held at times during the season. They are nicely attendant and well received.
Lake Hopatcong spans a large area geographical area. A significant portion of the lake lies within the boundaries of Sussex County.
A Memorandum of Agreement has been established between the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office and the Morris County Sheriff's Office outlining the scope of authority essential for the implementation of enforcement action within the jurisdiction of Sussex County.
"We have been diligently readying ourselves for another year of partnership with the New Jersey State Police and other agencies to keep our friends, neighbors, and visitors to Lake Hopatcong safe! We expect a very busy and very enjoyable boating season, Sheriff James M. Gannon said."