Prosecutor's offices across New Jersey have had a sharper focus recently on improving the relationship between law enforcement and the public.

But you can expect to see an even greater amount of community policing events in your county, now that it's being mandated by the state.

As part of the 21/21 Project (21-County, 21st Century Community Policing Project) from Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, county prosecutors will host more than 80 public events in 2018, focusing on critical issues and further building relationships or bridging divides that may exist between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said his office has been engaged in community outreach for several years. The state's directive adds to the effort, he said, by focusing their events, or a portion of them, on specific issues — the first being officer-involved shootings.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

"We'll have a presentation on that, and we'll be willing to answer any questions," Gramiccioni said about his office's event planned for May 8. "The reason why we hold these events is to make sure the public understands what we do for them and what our obligations are as law enforcement officers. and should they have an interaction with a law enforcement officer, what they can expect."

The initiative requires that each county prosecutor organize and host a public meeting with community leaders each quarter. The format of the meeting — a town hall or roundtable discussion, for example — is up to each office. All meetings are open to the public.

Following the subject of officer-involved shootings in the spring, summer events will focus on opioids, fall events will cover immigration enforcement, and the winter topic is bias crimes.

Attorney General Grewal plans to attend up to six meetings per quarter, and will invite elected and community representatives to join him.

“Every day, law enforcement officers across New Jersey work closely with the members of the public to keep our streets safe,” Grewal said in a news release. “But that does not mean we cannot do better, and strengthening police-community relations in New Jersey is one of my top priorities."

According to the initiative's website, a couple counties have already hosted their spring meetings. Here's what's coming up in the weeks ahead, including a Friday event at Hunterdon County Courthouse.

  • Atlantic County — Thurs., May 17 (4:30 p.m.), Location TBD
  • Bergen County — Tues., May 22 (6 p.m.), Two Bergen Plaza, Hackensack
  • Burlington County — Tues., May 22 (9 a.m.),  Burlington County Emergency Services Training Center, Westampton Township
  • Camden County — Tues., April 24 (10 a.m.), Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center, Blackwood
  • Cape May County — Tues., May 1 (10 a.m.), Avalon Golf Club, Cape May Courthouse
  • Cumberland County — Thurs., May 24 (6 p.m.), Union Baptist Temple Church, Bridgeton
  • Essex County — planning an event for early May
  • Gloucester County — Tues., May 15 (9 a.m.), Rowan College at Gloucester County, Sewell
  • Hudson County — Thurs., June 7 (4 p.m.), Second Hudson County Clergy Academy, USS Juneau Building, Kearny (event also held on April 7)
  • Hunterdon County — Fri., April 13 (2 p.m.), Hunterdon County Courthouse, Flemington
  • Mercer County — event held in March, no further events listed
  • Middlesex County — Thurs., June 14 (6 p.m.), Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office Training Center, Edison
  • Monmouth County — Tues., May 8 (1 p.m.), Triumphant Life Church Assembly of God, Fort Monmouth
  • Morris County — Tues., April 17 (1 p.m.), Morris County Public Safety Training Academy, Morristown
  • Ocean County — event held in March, no further events listed
  • Passaic County — event held in March, no further events listed
  • Salem County — Thurs., May 10 (6:30 p.m.), Salem County Emergency Services Building, Woodstown
  • Somerset County — Wed., May 2 (6 p.m.), Somerset County Office, Somerville
  • Sussex County — Thurs., April 19 (7 p.m.), Sussex County College, Newton
  • Union County — Thurs., May 24 (6 p.m.), John Stamler Police Academy, Scotch Plains
  • Warren County — Wed., May 2 (4 p.m.), Warren County Community College, Washington

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