Attorney General Awards Over $200K to 28 Police Departments for Community Policing Programs to Honor Summit Detective

Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino today announced a total of $219,000 in grant awards for 28 police departments across New Jersey from the “Detective Matthew L. Tarentino Community Policing Grant Program,” a new program that provides grants to police departments for initiatives aimed at fostering strong police-community relations.

The program is named in honor of Detective Tarentino, a Summit police officer who epitomized the goals of community policing.

In June, Attorney General Porrino announced the new program offering competitive grants of up to $10,000 per department for police to fund innovative community policing initiatives in honor of Detective Tarentino, who tragically lost his life in a motor vehicle accident on May 30. The first round of grants, funded with criminal forfeiture funds, was set at $121,000, to commemorate Detective Tarentino’s badge #121.

However, the Attorney General increased the funding by nearly $100,000, to $219,122, after receiving a tremendous response, with applications from 138 police departments.

Attorney General Porrino also announced that a second round of grant funding to honor Detective Tarentino will be offered later this year, for which departments not funded in this round may re-apply. The 28 community policing proposals approved for grants in this round include police departments in all 20 New Jersey counties from which applications were received.

“The overwhelming response we received from law enforcement for this new program is a tribute to Detective Tarentino and a testament to the strong commitment of New Jersey officers to community policing,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Detective Tarentino had a tremendous passion for public service and embraced the community he served in a remarkable way. The initiatives we are funding will honor his extraordinary spirit and keep that spirit alive across our state.”

“Every year we invite police departments to apply for a range of grant programs, but I can’t recall ever being inundated with applications like we were for this program honoring Detective Tarentino,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Officers in New Jersey clearly understand that everybody wins when they engage in a personal way with residents and gain their confidence and trust.”

Community policing fosters relationships of collaboration, trust, and understanding between law enforcement agencies and their communities. Law enforcement agencies acting alone can rarely solve the difficult public safety problems facing communities in today’s world. Only with meaningful public support and engagement can law enforcement agencies begin to confront these complex issues and effectively protect and serve the public.

Funding under the grant program is allocated to help pay for non-enforcement related community engagement activities and programs. The following are just a few examples of initiatives being funded with the 28 grant awards. A full list of the awards is included below.

The Roselle Police Department’s “Book ‘Em: Read with a Cop” program will bring law enforcement closer together with local youth while promoting literacy in conjunction with the borough’s public schools and the Roselle Public Library. The multi-phase program will reach children from kindergarten to middle school, with officers reading to children and hosting Family Reading Nights, where crafts and snacks will fit the themes of police and reading.

The Berkeley Township Police Department will co-host Manitou Park Family Unity Day with the township recreation department. The Berkeley Police will offer free lunch and dinner cookouts at the event, which is scheduled for August 19 from noon to 8 p.m., as a way to foster positive interaction between police and residents in that area of the township. Activities will include games, bike safety inspections, and providing free helmets to children who need them.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office will host a barbecue this fall for its Project Lifesaver Program, a locating/tracking service for over 100 elderly and special needs clients at risk of wandering. The barbecue will show appreciation for client caregivers and families. It also will involve Sheriff’s Office partners, including the International Project Lifesaver Program, Morris County Division of Aging, and police agencies from municipalities where the clients reside.

The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office will bring free, mobile ice cream social events to a total of nine different locations for three days with its “Cops, Kids and Cones” program. The program, along with annual Back to School events held by the prosecutor’s office, is intended to let the community know that the prosecutor’s office is their partner in helping kids make healthy choices, stay in school, and stay safe.

The New Brunswick Police Department will distribute school backpacks to children at 10 different locations during National Night Out, Aug. 1. They also will partner with the Suydam Street Reformed Church and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital to host an annual holiday party on Dec. 16 where toys will be distributed to all local children who attend.

In honoring Detective Tarentino, Attorney General Porrino also thanked the members of the Summit Police Department and Chief Robert K. Weck for their strength and leadership in facing a very difficult time, and for their exemplary community policing initiatives, which were recognized in May at the Attorney General’s Outstanding Community Policing Awards Ceremony. Detective Tarentino was instrumental in Summit’s very successful community policing efforts.

The video shown at the award ceremony about the Summit Police Department’s community policing programs is posted on the Attorney General’s website and is available at this link:

Here is the full list of awards announced today by the Attorney General:

Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office receives $5,831 for Cops, Kids and Cones Community Policing Initiative

Pleasantville Police Department receives $7,842 for Pleasantville Community Event/NARCAN Training

Emerson Police Department receives $4,840 for Emerson Police Open House/Cop Camp Out Overnight

Pemberton Borough Police Department receives $4,903 for Pizza with a Cop

Borough of Lindenwold receives $1,977 for Lindenwold Police Department "Trunk or Treat" Event

Gloucester Township Police Department receives $10,000 for Building Community Trust Beyond Body Cameras

Phillipsburg Police Department receives $10,000 for Phillipsburg Community Policing

Clayton Police Department receives $9,724 for Clayton Night Out/Police Chaplain/Coffee with a Cop

Readington Township Police Department receives $6,041 for National Night Out 2017

Mercer County Sheriff's Office receives $9,500 for 2017 Community Policing Initiative

Hazlet Police Department receives $5,260 for Police Youth Week and Community Outreach

City of New Brunswick Police Department receives $10,000 for COPS for Kids

Guttenberg Police Department receives $4,748 for Guttenberg Police Department's First Annual Fall Festival

Dover Police Department receives $7,200 for Dover Police School Resource and Education Program

Penns Grove Police Department receives $9,838 for End of Summer Bike Safety BBQ with the Police

Bound Brook Police Department receives $5,886 for Bound Brook Community Policing Initiative

Borough of Woodland Park receives $7,810 for Woodland Park Community Jamboree

Roselle Police Department receives $10,000 for Book 'Em: Read with a Cop

Town of Newton Police Department receives $10,000 for Not Even Once Program

Berkeley Township Police Department receives $9,449 for Manitou Park Family Unity Day

City of East Orange Police Department receives $10,000 for East Orange Police Athletic League

Jersey City Police Department receives $10,000 for Police Chaplaincy Program

The city of Perth Amboy receives $10,000 for PAPD Goes Red

Morris County Sheriff's Office receives $9,945 for Project Lifesaver Caregiver Appreciation BBQ

Borough of Palisades Park Police Department receives $7,528 for D.A.R.E. Revival & National Night Out Expansion

City of Burlington Police Department receives $9,999 for GREAT Officers Read/Burlington Rocks Contest

Summit Police Department receives $10,000 for Coffee with a Cop - Community Affairs Program

Township of Nutley Police Department receives $801 for Police and Lunch in Schools (PALS)

TOTAL: $219,122