Cherry Hill police officers ready to run with the community

This month, the police department has begun a new campaign entitled “Run With Us, Not Away From Us,” where police officers will participate as a team in local running events.

Cherry Hill residents can now run alongside the police officers who protect their town thanks to a new Cherry Hill Police Department community engagement campaign.

This month, the police department kicked off a campaign entitled “Run With Us, Not Away From Us.” The new campaign gives community members an opportunity to meet and run alongside members of the police department at 5K runs and other events around the township.

The police department announced the campaign 10 days prior to Cherry Hill Township and the Cherry Hill Public Library’s Book It 5K and Wellness Day on Sept. 23. Chief of Police William Monaghan said the police department has had a team of officers participating in numerous events such as the Book It 5K for about a year and a half and wanted to give residents a chance to run alongside them.

“We want it to be a community building exercise,” Monaghan said, “not just for the (Book It 5K), but for events down the road.”

Community engagement has been a focus of the department for the last few years. It has engaged with the township’s residents through programs such as Coffee With a Cop, a meet and greet the police department held for the first time back in May. The police department has also actively participated in various township events such as the township’s Harvest Festival and the Cherry Hill Public Library’s Backyard Bash.

The department’s new campaign is focused on building relationships between the officers and township residents.

“It’s important to build those relationships early on, so we get to know each other in non-stressful times and times we’re not in a crisis,” Monaghan said.

The new campaign isn’t just to allow residents to become friendlier toward officers. It’s also a way for officers to interact with residents outside of work.

“This is meant to be a community building exercise, not just for our residents, but for our officers,” Monaghan said.

The police department is hoping to schedule runs with the community throughout the year. Prior to the Book It 5K, the police department participated in the Tri-State K9 Stars and Stripes 5K Run and Fun at Cooper River Park on Sept. 9. In October, Cherry Hill police officers plan to participate in the Katz JCC’s annual 5K run.

The police department could also do occasional, informal runs, where members of the police department will go out for a light run or jog with community members.

“We might do an informal run here and there,” Monaghan said. “A group of us might meet up at the Cherry Hill West track and anyone who wants to meet with us can come.”

The police department will post flyers on its social media pages advertising future runs.

Monaghan also invites community groups to invite the police department to participate in their own runs or events in the future.

“If they want us to come out, we’d be more than happy to be working it into our schedule,” Monaghan said.

Online registration for Saturday’s Book It 5K is open through noon on Thursday. The cost to participate in the 5K run is $35. Residents can also take part in a one-mile walk for $20 or kids can take part in a 100-yard dash for $5. Proceeds will go toward Hurricane Harvey relief. To sign up, visit https://runsignup.com/bookit5k.

For more information on the police department’s, “Run With Us, Not Away From Us” campaign, call (856) 488–7813 or visit https://www.facebook.com/CherryHillPolice.