A group of East Orange police officers recently formed the inaugural chapter of the East Orange Bronze Shields. This non-profit organization supports positive police-community interactions and provides advocacy for minority officers within the department.
This is the 3rd Bronze Fields chapter in New Jersey.
Newark Police Department founded the first chapter in 1957, and the Passaic Chapter was founded in 2009 to include law enforcement agencies across the County of Passaic.
According to Board President, Sgt. Keith Alston, the East Orange Bronze Shields was founded partly due to local community feedback and a national trend toward reinvigorating community policing.
It also was started with the vision of strengthening unity and camaraderie inside the police department and serving as a voice for members who need it.
With the motto "Strength and Togetherness with Integrity for the Community," the East Orange Bronze Shields will work with churches, non-profit organizations, community partners, businesses, and local government to bring about impactful change.
"Personally, this is about leaving a legacy and making a significant difference in the city that raised me.
Growing up, I experienced both positive and negative interactions with EOPD. I believe one of the best ways I can improve police-community interactions is to change the culture from within," said Alston.
"Every member of the Executive Board is a product of this community and has a 100% vested interest in this organization's success."
Additional Board Members are:
- Lt. Marilyn Berrouet, Vice President
- Det. Keith McCoy, 2nd Vice President
- Lt. Yasmine Johnson, Secretary
- Det. Anthony Rogers, Treasurer
- Sgt. Sharieff Greenwood, Sergeant at Arms
- Sgt. Kwabena Sharif, Trustee
- Det. Curtis Manley, Trustee
Alston, who has been an officer for ten years, said the East Orange Bronze Shields is proud to be a direct affiliate of the Newark chapter, whose leadership was instrumental in formalizing the new organization and its structure.
"The Newark Bronze Shields support the members of the East Orange Bronze Shields wholeheartedly.
Our mission is to improve relations within law enforcement and the community, but also to ensure officers are treated fairly, which fosters a better work environment for all," said Idell Robinson, President of the Newark Bronze Shields and a Sergeant in the Newark Police Department, where he has served since 1997.
As the first founding organization in the state, Newark has had a tremendous impact on the culture both inside and outside of the department.
"I don't believe in the 'thin blue line.' The work we do in the police department to establish diversity, representation, and advocacy for our officers goes hand-in-hand with what we do in the community," added Robinson.
Officially established in September 2022, the East Orange Bronze Shields has hit the ground running. So far, they've sponsored two Community Resource Fairs, participated in the city's Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway and Holiday Toy Drive, and hosted its first Fundraising Event, packed with a diverse cross-section of the city's population.
"Community policing and outreach are a large part of EOPD's strategy to build mutual trust and understanding between our residents and police officers.
The East Orange Bronze Shields will be a great addition as a community partner whose members have the proven capability to make connections with people of all ages and backgrounds," said Mayor Green.
"Through their efforts and volunteerism, these men and women in blue will be able to tap into the pulse of the community and proactively provide solutions to issues specific to the City of East Orange."
"As the newly-appointed public safety director, I welcome the formation of the East Orange Bronze Shields.
I look forward to working with its members to serve the citizens of East Orange better. I believe community policing is the future of law enforcement. There is no better way than to have our officers involved throughout the community by participating in and hosting events.
We believe this will encourage positive interactions and dialogue between the police and the community we protect and serve," said Boyd, who has been an East Orange police officer for 21 years.
Unlike many other communities across the United States, East Orange's police force mirrors the community's demographics, with nearly 90% black and brown officers, many of whom hold high-ranking positions.
Through their efforts, Alston said he and his fellow members "will demonstrate that the local police department not only resembles the people it serves but cares about them as well."
For more information, please call Sgt. Alston at 973-518-8338, email firstname.lastname@example.org follow the East Orange Bronze Shields on Instagram@eastorangenjbronzeshields.