For Immediate Release: December 17, 2021
Office of The Attorney General
– Andrew J. Bruck, Acting Attorney General
TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck today announced that the Attorney General’s Office intends to award a total of $165,000 in grants to nine law enforcement agencies and two municipalities across 11 counties to fund innovative community policing initiatives with youth engagement as a priority.
The AG’s “Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program” is funded with federal funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. The 11 grant winners announced today by Acting AG Bruck submitted competitive applications for individual grants of up to $16,500 for programs designed to bring together police and youth in the communities they serve.
“Some of the best ideas for strengthening police-community trust come from our local communities, and we’re excited to use our resources to seed particularly promising projects in towns across the Garden State,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “One of the ways we maintain New Jersey’s status as a national leader on policing policy is by constantly seeking out new and innovative ways to build trust and protect the public. Today’s grants are yet another example of the Murphy Administration’s commitment to supporting communities throughout our state.”
A fundamental principle of community policing is that police, through collaborative partnerships, help to address public safety issues and increase trust through relationship-building. But many young people, particularly in disadvantaged communities, do not have positive relationships with law enforcement. The Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program seeks to bridge this divide by bringing police officers and youths together for social, recreational, and educational activities in which police can serve as mentors. Research shows such structured programs involving positive role models can help young people become more productive and successful.
Acting Attorney General Bruck today announced the following 11 grant awards, which will be used by the recipients over the next 12 months to implement police-youth trust programs across New Jersey:
Bayonne Police Department, $14,200, Bayonne Explorer’s Program
The Bayonne Police Department will engage young people, ages 14 to 20, in community service projects and teach them the importance of higher education, self-discipline, and mutual respect between citizens and police, leading to more effective police services.
Camden County Police Department, $6,473, Curfew Diversion Initiative
The Camden County Police Department will expand their “It Takes a Village to Keep Our Youth Safe—Curfew Diversion Program,” which offers young people in the City of Camden activities including basketball, pizza parties, unity days, and “Not in Our Parks” events. These events foster positive development, while diverting youth from curfew violations.
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, $16,500, Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office will offer pop-up events such as sporting activities, fishing derbies, and arts and crafts. The program will target young people in at-risk areas, including public housing complexes. These activities will be co-planned with township youth to incorporate their interests into the activities. The Sheriff’s Office also will be hosting positive youth development activities focused on job readiness, life skills, financial literacy, and healthy eating.
Franklin Township Police Department, $16,500, Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program
The Franklin Township Police Department in Somerset County will run multiple programs for young people, including Cooking with Cops, a basketball clinic, a citizens academy, a video gaming club, Biking with Cops, Franklin Fit (CrossFit), and community outreach programs.
Glassboro Police Department, $16,500, Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program
The Glassboro Police Department will use these grant funds to support the Police Athletic League, Junior Police Academy, Police Explorer, and Paws for the Cause. These programs all build relationships between the police and young people in the community through sports, education, physical fitness, career exploration, community service, and community partnerships.
New Jersey State Police, $12,910, Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program
The New Jersey State Police Outreach Unit will host and participate in a number of community events such as the Explorers Program, a career education program, Trunk or Treat, Coffee with a Cop, and Operation Dream Lift. They also will take part in events at soup kitchens, packaging and distributing food, clothing drives, safety presentations, and youth mentoring programs.
Orange Township, $16,500, Junior Public Safety Academy
Orange Township will use these grant funds to support the Orange Junior Public Safety Academy. This is a youth outreach and mentoring program that lasts for four weeks, five days a week, eight hours a day. The program develops life skills, teaches the importance of good character, provides leadership experience, promotes community service, and educates about career opportunities.
Palisades Park Police Department, $16,500, Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program
The Palisades Park Police Department will host the Palisades Park Junior Police Academy for two full weeks, targeting young people in the 5th and 6th grades. The academy will teach honor, respect, commitment, and integrity. Additional emphasis will be placed on the qualities of focus, discipline, and personal responsibility. The academy, which will include physical training and educational activities, will provide local youth an opportunity to see through the lens of law enforcement.
Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, $16,500, Obstacle Course/Law Enforcement Day
The Passaic County Sheriff’s Office will host a community event featuring an obstacle course for youths, with officers to help them navigate. The event will also have booths and stations providing families with information related to the Sheriff’s Office, project partners, and how to get involved in the Community Policing Division. This program is targeting young people ages 5 through 18.
City of Perth Amboy, $16,500, Ciclovia Perth Amboy
Once a month for three months, the City of Perth Amboy will hold a four-hour event during which roads will be closed at the event site for biking, skating, and walking. The event will feature food, music, and educational activities, and youths will participate in obstacle courses and skill competitions.
Warren County Prosecutor’s Office, $15,917, Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program
The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office will host a Health and Wellness Field Day targeting high school youths, at-risk youths, youths with substance abuse or mental health problems, and youths involved in the juvenile justice system. The event will feature a basketball tournament with teams of youths and police officers. Leading up to the tournament, young people and police will spend time together practicing, eating pizza, and building relationships. The Prosecutor’s Office also will host community days, with youths participating in the planning and public relations on social media.