Home Sicklerville News Gloucester Township Police unveil body cameras and community trust programs

Gloucester Township Police unveil body cameras and community trust programs

The department revealed many new initiatives to become more visible to the community

Berlin Police Chief Harry Earle presented new community outreach initiatives planned for the Gloucester Township police. Endeavors include officers wearing body cameras while patrolling, a police van filled with video games systems, and more community liaisons.

The Gloucester Township Police Department wants to be trusted by the community it serves.

On Monday, June 12, the department held a press conference announcing many upcoming initiatives intended to increase partnership and trust between police and citizens.

The department has recently implemented a body-worn camera program. Approximately 20 officers wear cameras, including all officers assigned to patrol functions.

“I believe that the deployment of body-worn cameras will enhance our efforts in building trust with the community while also assisting in capturing evidence during police investigations,” Chief Harry Earle said.

This summer, the department will roll out a community outreach vehicle, which is a repurposed van packed with video game systems and various sporting equipment. Earle said it will give younger residents the chance to interact with police, and comes complete with a community-police meeting room in the back.

The van will visit neighborhoods throughout the summer.

Criminal justice students at Camden County College will have the opportunity to participate in training scenarios, which will provide real-world experience and could even involve using force to de-escalate situations.

Three officers have been made liaison specialists:

• Officer Erica Marconi will serve as the Latino officer liaison, having previously worked with Hispanic groups in the community.

• Officer Eddie Radden will serve as the primary African American liaison officer.

• Officer Randy Pearce will serve as a LGBTQ liaison officer, and has already begun working with the Gay-Straight Alliance at a local high school.

There will also be a “volunteers in policing” program, which will allow community members to volunteer for certain events, and expand its chaplain volunteers program.

“As chief of police, I believe it is important that when it comes to community policing, we aim high and be open to changes in how we police,” Earle said.

In 2010, the department implemented a community policing strategy intended to increase visibility and interaction with the community.

Earle said the overall crime rate has fallen 34 percent from 2010 to 2015, and the violent crime rate dropped 50 percent.

The department utilizes what it calls a “third-gear policing” approach. The first gear is suppression or arrest, the second gear is prevention, and the third, where it hopes to operate, is intervention.

“I cannot say our third-gear program is the reason for these dramatic reductions in crime, but I can say our efforts dedicated to community policing certainly have not caused crime to rise,” Earle said.

Exit mobile version