Barely 24 hours after two bombs cut the Boston Marathon short, a caravan of about 11 police cars sped up Broad Street with sirens screaming. Some residents called town hall to see what the emergency was. Others queried neighbors on at least two of Bloomfield's Facebook forums. On one of them, Councilman Michael Venezia explained it succinctly:
"It is tradition for retiring police officers to get a send off with police cars escorting them to their house or out of Bloomfield. Captain Decker lives off a Broad Street and after 37-years of service to the township retired yesterday."
Captain Decker certainly earned the recognition of his peers for his long and distinguished career with the BPD. But, to many, the lack of notification made it seem like yelling "Fire!" In a crowded neighborhood rather than a theater. The timing couldn't have been worse. Many elderly and infirm within earshot may have been unintentionally terrorized.
Here's what a number of residents had to say about the high speed retirement party:Are you kidding me? All that noise, sirens, lights, RACING DOWN EFFING BROAD STREET AT 3 PM because someone retired? UnbeEFFINGlievable....If that's the truth someone should be held accountable for the apprehension and fear all of those sirens and racing police cars cause local residents and moms picking up their kids from local grammar schools today - a day after the Boston Marathon bombing.....At 3 PM, speeding up Broad Street past a grammar school when the children were being let out?? What a dangerous & sophomoric thing to do! I don't care if it is a tradition...they certainly should have shown better judgement. Especially considering the incident the day before in Boston. What the hell were they thinking?!....OK, they "escort" the guy home...the rest was completely unnecessary and potentially dangerous, especially with the racing police cars and the time of day. Many local moms were in a panic and ran to their childrens' schools to pick them up....Seriously, NO ONE IN TOWN HALL has a clue. What happened yesterday was in very bad taste and very bad judgement.....it would have been disturbing enough on any day but the day after the Boston bombing a few people asked if we were under attack. It was a completely thoughtless and reckless thing to do. Thank God no one was hit by one of those cars...... Racing at any time on Bloomfield Ave is not good. Too many pedestrians, too much traffic... ....It did look like an escort but it was over the top!!! And scary after yesterday's Boston bombing.... completely unnecessary.Does anyone in town hall have any common sense? It scared the hell out of some local moms who were on their way to pick their kids up from grammar schools.... I was already at the school waiting to pick up my kids when they raced by and I almost ran in early and grab them... scared the CR*P out of me! ....that is that one thing that has kept me out of local poltiics is exactlty this kind of crap. You have to promote from within. What if there is an opening for Chief, and there is a GREAT candidate, from Louisville, or Philly or LA who wants the job....NOPE...we have to stay with outdated and inbred protectionism, known as Civil Service. The result is this "frat house" nonsense.....'Does anyone in town hall have any common sense?' You're serious when you ask that?"