EOPD to hire new officers with $1.5 million grant

East Orange Police Chief Phyllis L. Bindi; her department just received a $1.5 million grant.

EAST ORANGE — The East Orange Police Department has been awarded two U.S. Department of Justice grants — totaling $1,550,000 — to hire more police officers and improve communications with residents.

The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grant, which was awarded to EOPD last month, advances the practice of community policing through the hire or rehire of additional career law enforcement officers. One of 26 grantees in the State of New Jersey, EOPD was awarded $1,250,000 to hire 10 more police officers.

EOPD also recently received the Rural and Small Department Violent Crime Reduction Grant in the amount of $300,000 to implement an East Orange Prevention-Focused Community Engagement Program.

The overall goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based crime reduction strategy that will not only reduce violent crime within East Orange, but also hold officers accountable for policing in a fair, impartial, and constitutional manner, according to a press release from the city.

“Both of these grants allow us to continue to build trust, mutual respect and stronger relationships between our officers and the people of our community,” said Mayor Ted R. Green. “By working together, our officers and community members can collectively identify and address the root causes of crime and move toward solutions that will make East Orange a safer and more harmonious place to live, work and play.”

Police Chief Phyllis L. Bindi said the grant funds will be used to leverage existing partnerships to increase community engagement and to target specific geographic areas identified as “hot spots” with a disproportionate number of major crimes.

Community outreach activities will include “Coffee with a Cop,” the Public Safety Youth Academy, Sports and Mentoring Programs, Pop-Up Summer Block Parties, Community Resource Fairs, and the “East Orange Cares” Initiative. A special emphasis will also be placed on school safety and ensuring safe passages for our students to and from school.

“We understand that our ability to effectively combat crime depends on the public’s perception of the legitimacy and actions of our officers. These two grants will increase our manpower and our ability to execute a comprehensive community engagement program that will improve transparency, accountability, and most of all, trust,” said Bindi.

One of the first objectives of the crime reduction grant is to raise the department’s profile on social media to enhance communications between EOPD and community

The Community Relations Division of EOPD will kick off this initiative during a launch event to be held during the city’s Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. at 44 City Hall Plaza, East Orange, the release said.