NJ cops want to talk to you about immigration, bias crimes and gun violence
Through the end of this month alone, prosecutor's offices in nine New Jersey counties are holding events meant to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve — so obviously you're invited.
By the end of the year, 80 or so such events will have taken place in 2019 — all part of the 21/21 Community Policing Project created by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in 2018, promoting "21st century policing" in all 21 counties.
The quarterly public events last year took on sensitive areas of concern such as immigration, bias offenses, the opioid epidemic, and officer-involved shootings.
Most of the meetings taking place this fall, right on college campuses, are addressing the topic of campus sexual violence. Through the meetings, Grewal said, law enforcement hopes to encourage victims to speak up and increase reporting of sexual violence.
"The goal is to have conversations with community members," Grewal said of the 21/21 project. "Because those conversations lead to relationships, and if those relationships lead to trust between law enforcement and the community, then we operate better."
A key part of this effort, Grewal said, is having law enforcement go to the people, rather than the other way around.
"It's a more comfortable setting than inviting somebody to a prosecutor's office. We find sometimes that inviting folks to a prosecutor's office can be a barrier," Grewal said.
It's expected that meetings held this winter will address military and veterans affairs, and meetings in the spring will address juvenile justice. Grewal said counties will also have the opportunity to choose their own topics, based on what's pressing in their communities.
Events feature presentations and/or discussions of the quarterly topic. In addition to law enforcement officers, stakeholders from civil rights and religious communities are on hand for the public events.
Oct. 21, 7 p.m.: Campus sexual & relationship violence, Drew University
Oct. 22, 10:30 a.m.: Campus sexual violence, Salem Community College
Oct. 22, 8 p.m.: Campus sexual abuse, Rider University
Oct. 23, 9 a.m.: Military/Veterans, Ocean County Library
Oct. 23, 12 p.m.: Campus sexual violence, Atlantic-Cape Community College
Oct. 23, 7 p.m.: Campus sexual violence, Centenary University
Oct. 24, 9:15 a.m.: Domestic violence, Rowan College of South Jersey — Cumberland Campus
Oct. 24, 1 p.m.: Campus sexual violence, Rowan College of South Jersey — Gloucester Campus
Oct. 28, 6 p.m.: Elder abuse prevention, Union Public Library
Nov. 20, 10 a.m. (tentative): Campus sexual abuse, Hudson County Community College
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.