Council uses national holiday to highlight local efforts

Monday, Oct. 28 marked National First Responders’ Day. After the pledge of allegiance, Cherry Hill Council President David Fleisher encouraged all of those in attendance at Monday night’s council meeting to pause for a moment of silence as a show of appreciation for the local first responders working hard to keep Cherry Hill safe.

This show of appreciation quickly became the overarching theme of the evening as council highlighted the hard work and dedication of Cherry Hill’s first responders and gave them their thanks throughout the night.

With a particularly light agenda on the docket, council moved quickly through the handful of resolutions. Three resolutions authorized council to enter into shared service agreements with the Cherry Hill Board of Education – a practice council members noted has been in place for some time now. Chief of Police William Monaghan explained his department’s role in some of these services. 

Through the township’s shared service agreement, the department is able to transfer confiscated funds to the Cherry Hill Board of Education for restorative practice programming. Monaghan said nonprofit organization Project Little Warriors, a group that goes into schools and helps encourage mindfulness through yoga and fitness, is going to be hired to help facilitate some of this programming and will be going into the schools on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

Additionally, the department also supports Cherry Hill Public Schools’ security efforts. If the school board is unable to fill overtime positions with its own school resource officers, CHPD can supplement and back fill those positions with its own men. Monaghan said this practice has been less frequent in the last two years now that CHPS has expanded its own security personnel.

Resident Yoni Yares extended his warm thanks to Cherry Hill’s first responders during the public participation portion of the evening. Yares said the West side of town was hit hard by a violent storm right before Rosh Hashanah. The storms left debris on the street and sidewalk, but Cherry Hill police and fire worked quickly to clear the debris in time for those celebrating the holiday to walk to local services.

“The police department, the fire department, fire police and EMS were just absolutely incredible,” Yares said.

Yares also noted that Cherry Hill police played a crucial part in getting a pedestrian crossing sign installed at the intersection of Maple Terrace and Cooper Landing Road. Despite the fact that the intersection constitutes a county road, CHPD worked with the county to get the crossing sign in place at an intersection that had “become a nightmare for pedestrians,” according to Yares. He said the sign made a big difference for those trying to cross the road to local religious services last Saturday. 

While nearly every council member kept the sentiments of gratitude flowing in honor of the national holiday, Councilwoman Carole Roskoph highlighted her family’s personal experience with the town’s first responders. She said to date, her family has utilized both Cherry Hill police and fire services, and whenever an official has shown up at their house, he or she has always been professional and courteous. 

“I may be a little biased, but we do have the best police department [and] fire department around,” Roskoph said.

The next meeting of Cherry Hill Township Council will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the township’s Municipal Building.