Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Acquires Van to Serve Crime Victims

Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, announced today that the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has acquired a van to better serve the more than 9,000 crime victims that receive services each year from the ECPO.

Using funds from a federal grant, the Office purchased a Ford-F250 cargo transit van. The van was outfitted as a mobile site response vehicle for use on short notice by the ECPO Victim Witness staff.

“This van allows us to be available on a near 24 hour a day seven day a week basis when major crime incidents affect multiple victims,” said Pamela McCauley, Director of ECPO the Victim Witness Unit. “The quicker we can respond, the more we can do to help victims deal with immediate trauma and begin to restore their normal life routine.”

In addition to services for the victims, the presence of the van at crime scenes shortly after the time the crime occurred can assist in the overall investigation and help protect the safety of witnesses and their household members, said Prosecutor Stephens.

The van will also be used as a mobile drop in space when not needed for critical incident response. This additional function will increase victim access to needed services and allow the ECPO to expand its outreach efforts to Essex County crime victims. The van cost $135,000. The money was provided under the 2020-2021 Victims of Crime Act grants program administered by New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.

The vehicle is comfortable for two ECPO Victim Witness staff members to perform office functions and to accommodate victim interviews and small group discussions, for up to 8 hours while located at a curb side parking space, without any external power or communications hook-up. 

The key feature of the van is its small gasoline-fueled power generator, like those commonly used in recreational vehicles.  The generator is in the rear storage area with appropriate exhaust venting. It provides up to six KW of 120 VAC electric power. That power source feeds several outlets in the vehicle. It also runs auxiliary lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation appliances.  This provides power for the use of computers and other small office appliances, as well as to maintain a comfortable interior environment for visitors for up to eight hours while the vehicle is parked.

The van is also outfitted with exterior scene lighting to create a well-lit exterior perimeter during night-time use. An exterior emergency light (red high intensity light) has been mounted on the vehicle’s exterior, to signal to law enforcement officers in the vicinity of an emergency that requires possible intervention.

“Serving victims is the top priority of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and essential to our mission. The purchase of this van allows us to bring services directly to the community in an expeditious manner,” said Prosecutor Stephens. “Getting support staff onsite and serving victims and witnesses quickly is critically important to the effective investigation of crime and, ultimately, the successful prosecution of cases thus enhancing public safety.”

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