IRVINGTON, NJ — Three gunshots and the sound of two automobiles screeching away from the front of a Wyndmoor Avenue house in Hillside broke the early morning hours on Tuesday, May 17, at a residence where members of the Irvington Police Department’s Special Enforcement Response Team and other law enforcement agencies had executed a raid Thursday, May 5, at 7 a.m., as part of Operation May Day, a crackdown on gangs, guns, drugs and violence in multiple municipalities, including Irvington.
“What is this, South Central L.A., where people do drive-bys now?” asked Hillside Mayor Angela Garretson on Tuesday, May 17, in response to the shots fired earlier that day. “Our police department has got to do better. And when it comes to other outside police departments and law enforcement agencies coming in and alerting us to the presence of a high-ranking Crip leader in our town, the Hillside Police Department’s intelligence system needs to do better.”
Irvington Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers urged anyone who may have seen or found anything to report it to the authorities.
“If you fund a shell casing, you should call the local police department to report it,” said Bowers. “Also, that investigation is not over. We are currently in the second phase of that case. It is still ongoing.”
Garretson and acting Hillside Police Chief Richard Floyd were both present at the press conference in Irvington on Thursday, May 5, when Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss and Bowers announced the results of their joint tactical deployment in the region.
Vauss said search warrants were used to coordinate tactical deployments at premises in Irvington, Hillside, Perth Amboy and Newark, and resulted in the confiscation of $4,062 in cash, two vehicles, four handguns and “several controlled dangerous substances, including crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana and prescription pills.”
“Eleven people were arrested in the sting, including several gang members and drug distributors,” said Vauss on Thursday, May 5.
“A few months ago we ran up in a house in Orange,” said Vauss on Tuesday, May 17. “We followed the guy from Irvington to Orange and then went and locked him up. Then we went and got the money he stashed that was in a couch.”
Vauss said part of Operation May Day’s purpose was to send a specific message to criminals and gang members engaged in illicit or illegal activities that “crime will not be tolerated in Irvington.” He said he wants the word to get out so “Criminals know this: Irvington is not where you want to do your crimes.”
“We will come for you,” said Vauss. “Most of the people who do stuff here don’t live here.”