PATERSON, N.J. -- Paterson panhandlers, loiterers and litterers -- as well as people drinking in public, playing loud music and blocking the sidewalk -- were targeted in a roundup by Passaic County sheriff's officers.
In one day, Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik's officers issued 21 summonses and arrested eight people as part of the detail.
His office "has received numerous complaints from citizens, business owners and elected officials regarding quality of issues throughout the city," the sheriff said.
In turn, Berdnik increased patrols to enforce municipal ordinances "such as groups congregating in front of commercial establishments, blocking public passage, drinking in public, littering, loud music and panhandling," he said.
"During the course of the detail, officers received support from the from community who thanked them for addressing their everyday issues in their neighborhood and are hoping for us to return," the sheriff added.
Seven of those arrested on Thursday after officers saw them violating municipal ordinances were wanted on warrants, Berdnik said.
They included 32-year-old Michael L. Egizi of Little Ferry, who was wanted for robbery, he said.
Another man, 52-year-old Carlos Torres of Paterson, had a two-year-old warrant and owed $41,723 in unpaid child support, the sheriff said.
Officers issuing summonses for blocking public passage in front of 264 Rosa Park Boulevard came across a man who refused to identify himself and then ran off.
Identified as Luis Pena, 31, he tossed a capsule of cocaine as he fled, Berdnik said.
Officers chased down Pena, who was wanted on two warrants out of Paterson -- for resisting arrest and simple assault, he said.
The ongoing detail will continue at various times and on various days, the sheriff said.
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