Frank Balles, Republican candidate for Atlantic County Sheriff, today criticized Sheriff Jim McGettigan for being ?so slow to take advantage of law enforcement technology that he has just now obtained stolen vehicle tracking devices which have been in widespread use by local police departments for as long as twenty years.?

Balles, a captain in the Pleasantville Police Department, said the location and tracking devices — known as LoJack — have been in use in his department since 1986 and has proven to be an enormously effective crime-fighting tool.

The LoJack system is currently utilized by four municipal police departments in Atlantic County and more than 100 departments throughout the state, some for more than twenty years.

Phil Rivoli, New Jersey law enforcement liaison for LoJack, the firm which installs the devices, praised Pleasantville for ?an outstanding record in stolen vehicle recovery.?

?Pleasantville has a success rate above 90 per cent due to the department?s professionalism and diligence,? Rivoli said.

Balles faulted McGettigan for ?failing for years in his duty to recognize the value of the tracking systems in recovering stolen vehicles, despite their ready availability at no cost to government,? Balles said. ?A forward looking and progressive law enforcement agency is obligated to recognize and take advantage of advancements in technology to fight crime.

?McGettigan ignored that responsibility to the clear and costly detriment of Atlantic County citizens,? Balles said. ?Where has the Sheriff been for the past fifteen years? Perhaps a LoJack device should be attached to his belt so the citizens and taxpayers will be able to locate him.?

Balles, who serves as Acting Chief of Police in Pleasantville when the need arises, said ?it is crucial for law enforcement to be constantly aware of technological advances and new developments in fighting crime.?

?Those who choose to break the law are constantly finding new ways to evade detection and police agencies must embrace new methods to combat them,? he said. ?This is a lesson McGettigan has yet to learn.?


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