Cops and religious leaders unite

At the most recent Medford Town Council meeting, Medford Police Chief Rich Meder announced the initiation of the Police Chaplain program.

Medford Police Chief Rich Meder introduced the department’s new Police Chaplain program at the town’s council meeting last Monday night. The program is aimed at utilizing the police to connect representatives from local religious institutions with those who are victims of crime and their loved ones.

Meder acknowledged “there are things that we have to handle and there are things that we’re not good at,” referring to the counseling that goes into helping those who are the victims of crime.

Meder feels the religious leaders can help provide “guidance” to those who need it, while the police can focus on police duties.

“We have more of the police duties to do and they can handle some of the spiritual and the social aspects of things that we come across,” he said. “So it’s really a partnership between the churches and the police department to better serve our community and victims that we come across.”

The police department sent a letter to every religious institution in Medford requesting representation to help with the problem, and eight responded. The representatives helping with the program are Pastor Brian Snyder from Fellowship Alliance Chapel, Rabbi Yitzchok Kahan of Chabad in Medford, Dan Swift of St. Mary of the Lakes, Father Don Muller of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Father John Shimchick of Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross, Father John Bishara of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Pastor Joe Monahan of Medford United Methodist and Pastor Dr. Joe R. Olachea of Lakes Community Chapel.

Part of the program consists of doing ride alongs to learn more about what police officers do on a daily basis and get to know them, according to Meder.

In other news:

Council passed suggestions on road alterations on second reading. The suggestions were based on traffic studies performed by township engineer Chris Noll.

The speed limit on Hawkin Road from Skeet Road to Southampton, which is 25 mph, will be upped to 35 mph due to a lack of driveways or residences on that stretch of the road. Additionally, New Freedom Road, between Eayrestown Road and the Southampton border, will have its speed limit be lowered from 50 mph to 40 mph because of the excessive number of driveways.