Township police chief renews his contract

Department head tells council about law-enforcement initiatives

Washington Township Police Chief Patrick Gurcsik, has renewed his contract and will  serve the township for another four years. 

“I am excited as a career law-enforcement professional and I appreciate the trust that the mayor and council have in me,” said Gurcsik. “It is an honor to be entrusted with the responsibility to protect and serve the residents of Washington Township.” 

To start off his next four years, Gurcsik presented a crime statistics report to members of council that touched on major milestones within the department.

This year, the police department continued with its Drive Like Your Kids Live Here initiative by setting up 10 new solar-powered speed signs; it plans to receive 10 more before the end of the year to be placed around Washington Lake Park. The initiative will also be front and center when it comes to the evaluation of sidewalks on Hurffville Cross Keys road. 

The department has continued with its community caretaking programs, such as senior Valentine’s Day outreach and the Battle Of The Badges Blood Drive, and continues to  plan events for the upcoming year such as National Night Out on Aug. 3.

“We work tirelessly to examine ways to foster strong, collaborative and long-lasting relationships between our police and the community we protect,” Gurcsik offered. “We do believe what we are doing here in town does have a long-lasting effect on crime in our community.

“You are never done and there is never a finish line,” he added. “It’s a daily investment with progress.” 

Gurcsik also spoke to council about the different types of training the department will have completed by year’s end, including deescalation, use of force, police pursuits, Implicit bias training, Integrating Communication and Tactics training and Active Bystandership training. Along with those programs, the department also was awarded over $250,000 in grant funding in the past year that allowed for the purchase of body cameras, body armor and traffic enforcement equipment and community outreach tools.

The next steps for the department include the purchase of 15 new Ford Explorer SUVs for the patrol division. The vehicles have to be custom made and outfitted to best fit the department’s needs and will be available in the next few months. 

“The cars will be marked patrol vehicles and will all be assigned to the patrol bureau,” Gurcsik noted. “They are the backbone of the police department and are the most important function of our agency.”

In the next four years, Gurcsik hopes to continue pushing the guardian mindset throughout the department and serve the community in the best way possible.

“I want to continue to push my belief to the men and women on the force that our law- enforcement culture should embrace a guardian mindset and build upon public trust and legitimacy,” he explained. “Our officers should be guardians of the community and not warriors. We stress that daily, and will continue to do that as long as I am police chief here.

“There is a major difference in agencies that practice community policing,” Gurcsik added, “and agencies that don’t.”