TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 9:15 p.m. a vehicle traveling on West State Street near Hermitage Avenue ran off the roadway crashed though a picket fence and onto a porch of a vacant house. Trenton EMS, Capital Health Paramedics, Trenton Fire Department and Trenton Police Department responded to the scene for reported people trapped in the vehicle.
Trenton firefighters were able to stabilize the car prior to patient removal. After the vehicle was stabilized the patient was extricated. It was reported one person was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for treatment for non-life threating injures. The driver of the vehicle was reportedly seen leaving with police.
Trenton Fire Department stood by as a tow truck removed the vehicle that was on the front porch. The Trenton Building Department responded to the scene to evaluate the structure.
The Trenton Police Department is investigating the crash.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Heavy rains could not stop the Mercer County, Memorial Day observance held at Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton Township today.
Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes spoke about his family’s loss and importance of Memorial Day. Mr. Hughes stated that he has three brothers and some of his brothers never got to know his father due to a military plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean. He told that his mother got “the knock on the door” from a general and pastor that every military wife does not want to get. She received notice that her husband’s plane had gone down. It had been flying a route from Massachusetts to the Azores and then to Berlin. The plane was to bring a taste of democracy like that we know here, food, clothes, medicine and the parts of life we take for granted. He talked about how his father stood up every day and said this is going to be his job and he was going to be the one to provide that little level of democracy to a war torn town like Berlin. On that one particular day the plane went into the Atlantic Ocean and was never found or heard from again.
County Executive Hughes thanked all those who came out today to make sure the veterans know that this country is still great and will remain that way for many years to come.
Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin, a U.S. Air Force veteran, delivered the keynote address at the event. Mayor Martin stated that we gather to honor the men and women of our armed forces, those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and community. That is how our country was built by those who are willing to sacrifice for the greater good. From the American Revolution to the Middle East Conflicts over the last two decades countless Americans have answered the call to protect all of us, they have put service before self.
The mayor said, “As a veteran himself when you answer the call to serve you don’t know what is going to be presented in front of you. You don’t know what battle field you will go to, what call you will heed, what flight you will be on that you just hope that is routine and ends up not to be.
“Every flag you see in this cemetery represents someone who did not know what was going to be put in front of them, but answered that call, bravely with honor, with resolve, and the commitment the were answering their counties call to protect their families, to protect their loved ones back home.” Mayor Martin said
County Executive Hughes, Mayor Jeff Martin and the Senior Vice Commander of the VFW placed a wreath at the base of the flag pole in the Veteran’s section of the Greenwood Cemetery. A gun salute and TAPS was played at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Every year the Memorial Day observance is organized by the Mercer County Veterans Council and the Division of Veteran Services.
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department and EMS were detailed to I-195 East Bound at the ramp to the NJ Turnpike for a truck off the road and on fire. Upon arrival there was no fire and the driver was out of the vehicle and reported uninjured. The truck lost control on a rain slicked road and ran off the roadway. The New Jersey State Police were on scene investigating.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Years ago, my father would take me for a hair cut at Ralph’s Barbershop in Hamilton Township at the corner of South Broad Street and Maple Shade Avenue near the White Horse Circle. In that barbershop that was later renamed to “Ralph’s Hair Styling,” there was a shelf not too far from the barber chair that held a four channel police and fire radio scanner. It was simple back then– four blinking lights, a couple of knobs, a pull up antenna, and “crystals” were inside the scanner to listen to specific police and fire frequencies. On those Saturday mornings at the barbershop, you could read the two local papers, and hear the police and fire activity on that simple radio scanner. Ralph always knew what was going on in the neighborhood though the local media or what he heard live over the scanner and was a regular conversation of what was going on in the barbershop.
Today, radio systems have turned from a simple two-way system to multimillion-dollar trunking systems where radios cost thousands of dollars each and some have digital “encryption” built in at a more expensive cost.
Some agencies such as Trenton Police, Ewing police have used “encryption” for years to keep scanner listeners and the media from finding out what is going on in their town. Recently Hamilton Township has made a switch to an “encrypted” radio system.
For years prior, most day-to-day dispatch operations were not “encrypted” and special channels such as for SWAT, drug enforcement or Special Operations were always encrypted due to safety of the teams. Lately police have been moving to “encrypt” all communications, and not just the special operations channels.
Encryption becomes a policing transparency and accountability problem by restricting the public’s right to monitor public radio frequencies. The encryption is usually set up in the name of police safety and privacy.
Several years ago, I attended a NJ Division of Fire Safety Class called “Media and the Fire Service” and the instructor was a reporter and NBC 10 news anchor in Philadelphia. He normally taught the class to police organizations but also offered the class to fire department organizations. The news anchor stated, when something happens and there is no information available the media will interview someone or ask someone on the street as a source. He said sometimes they will get it right and sometimes they will get it wrong. As a public agency it is best to respond quickly as possible, so the correct information is sent to the public. The news anchor stated that police reported it was a lot easier to report the factual information soon as possible than fix mistakes that “sources” had given the media.
Last night, there was a fatal accident in Trenton, New Jersey around 11:00 p.m. at the Intersection of South Clinton Avenue and Roebling Avenue. Over the EMS Channel, it was broadcast that this was a pedestrian accident and when EMS and the fire department responded they were advised it was possibly a shooting. One of the EMS supervisors also said it was a shooting over the radio no other communications where heard.
Without the ability to listen and back up information that would be heard on police radio in Trenton, most news media that reported on the incident reported it as a “shooting” though reported “sources.”
MidJersey.news covers “breaking news” and goes to several active accidents, crime scenes, and other kinds of events per week to verify information in person. We also heard the report of “shooting” and also the report of a “pedestrian accident” and worded the article as a “possible shooting” since the preliminary reports were unclear. When information is not verified though an “official” police source, we have the information listed as “breaking” “unofficial” and other descriptions of what might have happened until it confirmed by official sources.
MidJersey.news also works with the local police agencies to post the correct information in a timely manner. There have been times when a police department asked to post something quickly because rumors were getting out of control and wanted to get the right information out to as many as possible to prevent a bigger problem.
Here’s what I’m getting at: In today’s media race to be first to report, two major television news outlets from Philadelphia got it wrong by not backing up the story with official information and reported it as fact in their broadcast. These are supposed to be “trusted” news sources and people take what they report over what the local media who does the fact checking first.
To compound the misinformation there are many “armchair” news outlets that scan the Internet for breaking stories and repost those to their sites to gain hits and popularity. These organizations usually do not go out and do their own reporting but work on the backs of other media from a desk or in today’s pandemic quite possibly their couch.
I believe that the major news outlets got caught up in a perfect storm by one emergency channel reporting a shooting that was thought it was at the time and using that as their source. There was no way to back up that information by the ability to monitor police channels due to encrypted radio systems. They did not verify that information by official police sources most likely due to the late hour and holiday weekend. Instead of reporting as fact they should have reported as a possibility of the two things that might have happened.
Most likely reporting like this will continue to happen in the future with the encryption of public safety radios. The Neighbors application by Ring is sometimes used as a trusted source and sometime also gets information wrong and starts rumors rather than fact. Just a couple weeks ago in Hamilton, the Neighbors application reported a person shot on a playground, unofficial sources told MidJersey.news that it was a shots fired call and bullet casings were found but no person shot. No official public information was released by the police department about the incident. In three communities in Mercer County, you can find out more information from the Neighbors application than what is happening on the police radio scanner.
MidJersey.news supports the encryption of Special Operations, SWAT, Drug Enforcement, and other special radio channels that need to be encrypted for safety of police officers. The encryption of day-to-day dispatch and normal radio traffic, in our opinion, does not do anything except prevent transparency, open government, and accountability of policing. The normal day-to-day radio traffic should not be encrypted to prevent law abiding citizens from listening to public safety radio.
Opinion – Editorial
Related information non-MidJersey.news links below about encryption:
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 11:45 p.m. last night (May 29, 2021) a multiple vehicle crash occurred on Route 1 South Bound/Brunswick Pike in front of the Mercer Mall just south of Quaker Bridge Road. The Lawrence Township Police Department, Lawrence Township EMS, Capital Health Paramedics and Lawrence Township Fire Companies responded for reported people trapped in a vehicle.
Upon arrival of Lawrence Township Police and EMS there was no entrapment but they had up to seven injuries from three vehicles. Additional EMS units were called from West Windsor, Hamilton and Trenton to transport the patients.
Radio reports state that five people from the accident were transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.
Lawrence Township Police are investigating the crash.
Route 1 South in front of Mercer Mall was closed for a short time while tow trucks removed vehicles from the roadway.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– One person was transported to the hospital early Sunday morning after a single vehicle crash.
The crash occurred on Yardville-Allentown Road between Yardville-Hamilton Square Road and Route 156. It appears the vehicle flipped over after striking a cinder block wall, trapping the driver. Hamilton Fire Department responded to the scene and freed the driver from the vehicle. He was transported to the hospital by Robert Wood Johnson EMS with non life-threatening injuries.
Hamilton Police are investigating what led up to the crash.