The Governor's NJ Safe Task Force is hoping to hear from ordinary residents this week on how to keep schools and neighborhoods safe as well as how to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. That's the objective of three public hearings taking place in Camden, Lincroft and Newark this week.

Jeff Chiesa
Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa (Governor's Office)

State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa says violence affects folks from various regions of the state differently.

"We want to make sure that geographically we're hearing from everybody, we want to hear from both suburban areas and urban areas. We want to hear from school communities. We want to hear from parents and we want to hear from neighborhoods. All those places we want them to have a voice so that the governor has a chance to really consider some of the issues that are being raised by the people that live here, the people that are most affected by these issues."

Chiesa says the task force was formed in response to the recent tragic shootings in Newtown Connecticut and has 60 days to present its findings to the Governor.

Chiesa wouldn't venture a guess on what would happen in New Jersey after the findings are presented.

"You can't prejudge what this group is going to do. The Governor was very clear about it. He asked them to do the examination and to think about these issues and that to come to him. So you can't have any preconceived notion on what thoughts they might have at the end of it."

When describing the NJ Safe Task Force, Chiesa says that it's chaired by two former Attorneys General and it's made up of experts from the mental health world, the substance abuse world and school security because the Governor has been clear that he wants to take a comprehensive approach to addressing the issue of violence in New Jersey.

The hearings take place at Rutgers Camden on Tuesday, Brookdale Community College on Wednesday, and the Rutgers School of Law on Thursday.

Members of the public who cannot attend the hearings but wish to contribute to the work of the Task Force may do so by providing written submissions through email.

Hearing Details

February 5, 2013, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., Rutgers University-Camden
Rutgers Camden Campus Center
Multi-Purpose Room
326 Penn Street, Camden, NJ 08102
Parking available in Lots 13 & 14 (parking is free until Lots are full)

February 6, 2013, 3 p.m. - 5 p.m., Brookdale Community College
Warner Student Life Center
Room: Navesink I, II, III (SLC 216-218), on the upper level of the building
765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft NJ 07738
Parking available in Lot 7 (parking is free until Lot is full)

February 7, 2013, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m., Rutgers University School of Law-Newark
Center for Law and Justice, the Baker Trial Courtroom, Room 125
123 Washington Street, Newark NJ 07102
Parking is available in Lot 510 across the street from the Center for Law and Justice
(parking is free until Lot is full)