Between Walker Gym and Babbio Center, Stevens Police has acquired a decked-out Ford F5-50 police truck. Stevens Police received the truck as a donation from the Jersey City Police Department last spring, and it recently went into use, carrying essential equipment including barricades, first-aid kits, and vests.
“We had this truck eyed up for the past two years,” says Police Chief Tim Griffin. The 2003 Ford F5-50 was purchased by the Jersey City Police Department along with two identical trucks several years ago in the early 2000’s. “Jersey City had just purchased several new trucks, and we told them we had a need for one here on campus. It was a two year process between us, Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea, and the Jersey City Council. We came up with an agreement that they would sell it to us for $1.”
Police Chief Tim Griffin was interested in bringing the truck to Stevens as aside from its use in carrying police equipment, the truck is actually a tribute to two of his former colleagues. Deceased Jersey City police officers Shawn Carsen and Robert Nguyen were friends of Chief Griffin when he worked as an officer for Hudson County. The two officers died tragically on the rainy, foggy Christmas night of 2005. Carson and Nguyen had been summoned to the Lincoln Highway Bridge, now named the Shawn Carsen and Robert Nguyen Memorial Bridge in their honor, between Kearny and Jersey City to set flares to regulate traffic after a wooden arm to block traffic had broken. Due to the foggy weather, Carsen and Nguyen were unaware that the center portion of the drawbridge had been raised when they started to drive back to Jersey City, and their truck, the same model as the one now owned by Stevens Police, plunged into the waters, tragically killing them both. Griffin described the tragedy, saying “I remember getting the call that night. It was a rainy, rainy, foggy night. I dropped my family off home and went to the scene right away.” Both officers’ badges can be found painted on the right side of the truck in their memory.
Although the truck needed some improvements, including a paint job, it came in good mechanical condition and already had a new engine and transmission recently installed. “I’ve put a lot of elbow-grease into it,” says Griffin, who has taken the truck to his home to work on improving its condition. The truck has been a great asset to campus police this semester, carrying equipment not only essential to campus police operations, like ballistic shields and other necessities for active shooter situations, but equipment useful to the students as well. The truck carries a general first-aid kit and features a jump-pack attached to its front grill, which Stevens Police plans to use to help students jump-start their cars.
One of the agreements made with the Jersey City Police Department when the truck was acquired was that it would be used to aid nearby communities outside of Stevens when in need. “Students have also been asking if we can give them a ride in it,” says Griffin. “Usually we give them a ride around campus if they ask.”