AG announces $165,000 in grants for community policing programs focused on young people

TRENTON, NJ — Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced Dec. 17 that the Attorney General’s Office intends to award a total of $165,000 in grants to nine law enforcement agencies and two municipalities across 11 counties to fund innovative community policing initiatives with youth engagement as a priority. Grantees are Bayonne Police Department, Camden County Police Department, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin Township Police Department, Glassboro Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Orange Township, Palisades Park Police Department, Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, city of Perth Amboy and Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.

The acting attorney general’s “Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program” is funded with federal funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. The 11 grant winners submitted competitive applications for individual grants of up to $16,500 for programs designed to bring together police and youth in the communities they serve.

“Some of the best ideas for strengthening police-community trust come from our local communities, and we’re excited to use our resources to seed particularly promising projects in towns across the Garden State,” Bruck said. “One of the ways we maintain New Jersey’s status as a national leader on policing policy is by constantly seeking out new and innovative ways to build trust and protect the public. Today’s grants are yet another example of the Murphy administration’s commitment to supporting communities throughout our state.”

A fundamental principle of community policing is that police, through collaborative partnerships, help to address public safety issues and increase trust through relationship-building. But many young people, particularly in disadvantaged communities, do not have positive relationships with law enforcement. The Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program seeks to bridge this divide by bringing police officers and youths together for social, recreational and educational activities in which police can serve as mentors. Research shows such structured programs involving positive role models can help young people become more productive and successful. 

Orange Township will receive $16,500 for its Junior Public Safety Academy, a youth outreach and mentoring program that lasts for four weeks, five days a week, eight hours a day. The program develops life skills, teaches the importance of good character, provides leadership experience, promotes community service and educates about career opportunities. 

New Jersey State Police will receive $12,910 to implement the Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program. The NJSP Outreach Unit will host and participate in a number of community events such as the Explorers Program, a career education program, Trunk or Treat, Coffee with a Cop and Operation Dream Lift. It also will take part in events at soup kitchens, packaging and distributing food; clothing drives; safety presentations; and youth mentoring programs.