Attorney General Awards $219,000 to 28 Police Departments for Community Policing Programs to Honor Summit Detective Matthew L. Tarentino

For Immediate Release: August 1, 2017

Office of The Attorney General
– Christopher S. Porrino, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
Elie Honig, Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Peter Aseltine
Citizen Inquiries-

Detective Matthew L. Tarentino

TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino today announced a total of $219,000 in grant awards for 28 police departments across New Jersey from the “Detective Matthew L. Tarentino Community Policing Grant Program,” a new program that provides grants to police departments for initiatives aimed at fostering strong police-community relations. The program is named in honor of Detective Tarentino, a Summit police officer who epitomized the goals of community policing.

In June, Attorney General Porrino announced the new program offering competitive grants of up to $10,000 per department for police to fund innovative community policing initiatives in honor of Detective Tarentino, who tragically lost his life in a motor vehicle accident on May 30. The first round of grants, funded with criminal forfeiture funds, was set at $121,000, to commemorate Detective Tarentino’s badge #121. However, the Attorney General increased the funding by nearly $100,000, to $219,122, after receiving a tremendous response, with applications from 138 police departments.

Attorney General Porrino also announced that a second round of grant funding to honor Detective Tarentino will be offered later this year, for which departments not funded in this round may re-apply. The 28 community policing proposals approved for grants in this round include police departments in all 20 New Jersey counties from which applications were received.

“The overwhelming response we received from law enforcement for this new program is a tribute to Detective Tarentino and a testament to the strong commitment of New Jersey officers to community policing,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Detective Tarentino had a tremendous passion for public service and embraced the community he served in a remarkable way. The initiatives we are funding will honor his extraordinary spirit and keep that spirit alive across our state.”

“Every year we invite police departments to apply for a range of grant programs, but I can’t recall ever being inundated with applications like we were for this program honoring Detective Tarentino,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Officers in New Jersey clearly understand that everybody wins when they engage in a personal way with residents and gain their confidence and trust.”

Community policing fosters relationships of collaboration, trust, and understanding between law enforcement agencies and their communities. Law enforcement agencies acting alone can rarely solve the difficult public safety problems facing communities in today’s world. Only with meaningful public support and engagement can law enforcement agencies begin to confront these complex issues and effectively protect and serve the public.

Funding under the grant program is allocated to help pay for non-enforcement related community engagement activities and programs. The following are just a few examples of initiatives being funded with the 28 grant awards. A full list of the awards is included below.

  • The Roselle Police Department’s “Book ‘Em: Read with a Cop” program will bring law enforcement closer together with local youth while promoting literacy in conjunction with the borough’s public schools and the Roselle Public Library. The multi-phase program will reach children from kindergarten to middle school, with officers reading to children and hosting Family Reading Nights, where crafts and snacks will fit the themes of police and reading.
  • The Berkeley Township Police Department will co-host Manitou Park Family Unity Day with the township recreation department. The Berkeley Police will offer free lunch and dinner cookouts at the event, which is scheduled for August 19 from noon to 8 p.m., as a way to foster positive interaction between police and residents in that area of the township. Activities will include games, bike safety inspections, and providing free helmets to children who need them.
  • The Morris County Sheriff’s Office will host a barbecue this fall for its Project Lifesaver Program, a locating/tracking service for over 100 elderly and special needs clients at risk of wandering. The barbecue will show appreciation for client caregivers and families. It also will involve Sheriff’s Office partners, including the International Project Lifesaver Program, Morris County Division of Aging, and police agencies from municipalities where the clients reside.
  • The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office will bring free, mobile ice cream social events to a total of nine different locations on three days with its “Cops, Kids and Cones” program. The program, along with annual Back to School events held by the prosecutor’s office, is intended to let the community know that the prosecutor’s office is their partner in helping kids make healthy choices, stay in school, and stay safe.
  • The New Brunswick Police Department will distribute school backpacks to children at 10 different locations during National Night Out, Aug. 1. They also will partner with the Suydam Street Reformed Church and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital to host an annual holiday party on Dec. 16 where toys will be distributed to all local children who attend.

In honoring Detective Tarentino, Attorney General Porrino also thanked the members of the Summit Police Department and Chief Robert K. Weck for their strength and leadership in facing a very difficult time, and for their exemplary community policing initiatives, which were recognized in May at the Attorney General’s Outstanding Community Policing Awards Ceremony. Detective Tarentino was instrumental in Summit’s very successful community policing efforts.

Here is the full list of awards announced today by the Attorney General:

Applicant Award Amount Program Title
Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office $5,831 Cops, Kids and Cones Community Policing Initiative
Pleasantville Police Department $7,842 Pleasantville Community Event/NARCAN Training
Emerson Police Department $4,840 Emerson Police Open House/Cop Camp Out Overnight
Pemberton Borough Police Department $4,903 Pizza with a Cop
Borough of Lindenwold $1,977 Lindenwold Police Department “Trunk or Treat” Event
Gloucester Township Police Department $10,000 Building Community Trust Beyond Body Cameras
Phillipsburg Police Department $10,000 Phillipsburg Community Policing
Clayton Police Department $9,724 Clayton Night Out/Police Chaplain/Coffee with a Cop
Readington Township Police Department $6,041 National Night Out 2017
Mercer County Sheriff’s Office $9,500 2017 Community Policing Initiative
Hazlet Police Department $5,260 Police Youth Week and Community Outreach
City of New Brunswick Police Department $10,000 COPS for Kids
Guttenberg Police Department $4,748 Guttenberg Police Department’s First Annual Fall Festival
Dover Police Department $7,200 Dover Police School Resource and Education Program
Penns Grove Police Department $9,838 End of Summer Bike Safety BBQ with the Police
Bound Brook Police Department $5,886 Bound Brook Community Policing Initiative
Borough of Woodland Park $7,810 Woodland Park Community Jamboree
Roselle Police Department $10,000 Book ‘Em: Read with a Cop
Town of Newton Police Department $10,000 #Not Even Once Program
Berkeley Township Police Department $9,449 Manitou Park Family Unity Day
City of East Orange Police Department $10,000 East Orange Police Athletic League
Jersey City Police Department $10,000 Police Chaplaincy Program
City of Perth Amboy $10,000 PAPD Goes Red
Morris County Sheriff’s Office $9,945 Project Lifesaver Caregiver Appreciation BBQ
Borough of Palisades Park Police Department $7,528 D.A.R.E. Revival & National Night Out Expansion
City of Burlington Police Department $9,999 GREAT Officers Read/Burlington Rocks Contest
Summit Police Department $10,000 Coffee with a Cop – Community Affairs Program
Township of Nutley Police Department $801 Police and Lunch in Schools (PALS)
TOTAL: $219,122  


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