IRVINGTON, NJ — An automobile accident in which an Irvington Police Division cruiser struck two children reportedly occurred Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 5:30 p.m. on Springfield Avenue in Newark, near the ShopRite shopping center. When a copy of the official Newark Police Department incident report was requested, however, the department referred all questions to the Irvington Police Division.
“All I know is that, the reports I have, Irvington is handling this,” said Catherine Adams, of the Newark Police Department Public Information Office, on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
But Irvington Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers disagreed.
“Although an Irvington officer was involved, the matter is being handled by the Newark Police Department, because that’s where the accident happened,” said Bowers on Wednesday, Oct. 10. “It is my understanding that the kids walked out in the street between cars, unattended. They suffered non-life threatening injuries.”
Irvington police Detective Maurice Gattison, who acknowledged that he was driving the police car at the time of the accident, agreed with Bowers. “Irvington can’t handle it,” he said Wednesday, Oct. 10. “It’s a Newark job.” Gattison also serves as president of the Irvington Police Division PBA Local 29 union.
Mayor Tony Vauss corroborated Bowers’ account of the incident and agreed that the Newark Police Department has jurisdiction over it, although the Newark Police Department has refused to release a copy of the official incident report substantiating the incident.
On Monday, Oct. 15, the Irvington Herald was advised to submit a formal records request for the report via email, but the Newark Police Department Public Information Office did not respond to the email. And on Tuesday, Oct. 16, Adams said she was unable to provide the police report.
“I looked for the report, but I can’t find it,” said Adams on Tuesday, Oct. 16. “But we don’t usually give out copies of police reports by email. That’s not how we do it.”
Gattison said he didn’t understand why the Irvington Police Division would be handling the incident and suggested that maybe the county Prosecutor’s Office is in charge. Attempts to contact the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office regarding the incident were unsuccessful by press time this week.