A Burlington Township Police Department officer was recognized this year for his continuous efforts to the community in drug and alcohol abuse prevention and education.
Burlington Township officer and school resource officer Floyd Hazzard was recently selected as the Burlington County Volunteer of the Year.
In recognition of his commitment and service to the Burlington Township Municipal Alliance, the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse honored Hazzard on Sept. 17.
The officer was cited during the GCADA’s council meeting that was held at the Robert Wood Johnson Conference Center in Hamilton Township.
Hazzard, a veteran of the police force for 18 years and assigned as an SRO in the Burlington Township School District for 10 years, expressed his gratefulness for the recognition following his achievement.
“It was real nice to be recognized because I’m the School Resource Officer for the Burlington Township schools and I’m real connected to the community in that aspect, so I can see where the need is to prevent kids from drug abuse,” Hazzard said. “I try my hardest because if we have the funding [for it], then we have to do it. We have to bring some sort of prevention [programs] to the community.”
Hazzard said the funding for his efforts to implement education and prevention programs focused on drug and alcohol abuse in the community came as part of a state grant from GCADA. The township officer explained when the municipality was awarded this grant, he was chosen to utilize the funds accordingly to help stymie this serious matter.
In his efforts to tackle alcohol and drug abuse throughout Burlington Township, Hazzard explained he helped coordinate multiple programs to do so.
“When we were given this grant to use, we were thinking, ‘How could we use this money to prevent kids from alcohol and drugs?’ Anything like that,” Hazzard said. “So, we started using money for a police youth academy, classes on preventing vaping, drug abuse and alcohol, and presentations.”
As an SRO for the past decade, Hazzard also said this particular task has been a rewarding experience alongside his regular duties as a police officer. The township officer explained he felt the police department’s partnership with the Burlington Township School District has proved to be an important resource to the community.
“It has been an excellent and beautiful assignment because you get to help kids from kindergarten to [high school] seniors in so many ways,” he said. “The school district appreciates us being there just like we appreciate them opening their doors to us. We have to help these kids with this type of prevention and just being there in general, providing them safety and security, and answering questions they might have.”
Although Hazzard explained it was important to have this relationship with the school district, he noted each school requires a different approach toward education and outreach for drug and alcohol abuse prevention.
“Each school requires a different type of officer,” he said. “The high school requires education on vaping, but with the younger schools, you may have to provide more of a presence that they can recognize and make sure that [students] know they can come to you if they are having problems.
“The police department and the school district work as one, so that’s why we get along so well,” he added.
Even with a decade’s worth of positive experiences in the Burlington Township schools under his belt, Hazzard said his efforts stem not from awards or recognition, but from a commitment to serve the community.
“Sometimes you want to see the results and I strive off of seeing results, but I don’t strive off of being awarded for something like that,” he said. “I just try to do my best. I try to be out here in the community as much as I can and try to make a difference. That’s my goal right now – try to make a difference for these kids, for the parents, and for the community.
“When they told me I was being nominated [for Burlington County Volunteer of the Year], I was very happy, but that’s not going to change how I am. It’s not going to change what I’m doing. I’m going to continue to strive forward and do anything and everything for anyone that I can,” he said.
As Hazzard continues to carry forward as a police officer and SRO, he said his main goal in light of his recognition will serve as motivation to have more of an impact in Burlington Township.
“Every year we are trying to do more,” he said. “We want to continue to go, continue to increase and get our name out there and provide assistance whether it’s prevention or community activities and presentations. We want to continue that and hopefully change some lives.”