SUMMIT, NJ — On May 22, Summit Police and more than 30 other law enforcement agencies throughout the state were honored by Attorney General Christopher Porrino. Individual officers were also awarded for their community involvement. The ceremony took place at Rutgers University’s Livingston Campus Student Center in Piscataway.
Innovative approaches were featured, such as an outreach program in which police read to kindergarten students. Working with families to prevent gang involvement is another way police are working beyond their regular call of duty, taking an active role in the community. Educational programs about anti-bullying, internet safety, substance abuse prevention and pedestrian safety were also featured. A new outreach program was presented that provides resources for families battling opiate addiction.
The awards ceremony also included video presentations and a panel discussion among selected law enforcement agencies to showcase programs.
“We wanted to strengthen our relationships with schools, business owners and residents, and we’ve done that,” Summit Chief Robert Weck said in a video. Weck was the Summit Police Department’s first DARE officer.
“We proactively work with the community to identify potential safety needs and address them before they become concerns,” Summit Officer Matthew Tarentino said in a video.
The safe seniors program is one of the programs that Summit police offers to help prevent seniors from becoming victims of identity theft by alerting them of scams and educating them about how to handle them. The Summit police also work with the high school students. One program, called OM3D for One Moment 3 Decisions, involves a mock car crash scene for juniors and seniors to educate them about the dangers of distracted driving.
“The Summit Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality law enforcement services to Summit’s residents, business, schools and visitors,” Weck told LocalSource in an email on May 25. “At the heart of this important mission lies the foundational understanding that all of our officers are dedicated to developing our city by forming dynamic bonds of community cooperation during the course of their duties.
“By orienting our engagement strategies toward proactive policing, our department is able to leverage strong partnerships with the city administration, Department of Community Programs, Board of Education, the city’s other emergency services, houses of worship and other community organizations.
“By working with these important organizations and forming these cooperative partnerships, our department is able to proactively assess public safety needs, which is essential to crime prevention, community development, traffic safety and to ensuring the safety of our city both now and in the future.”
Summit police have posted videos about safety for the community. It uses YouTube to present a Summit Street Smarts Safety Series. It also has partnered with the high school film class to develop a community initiative to keep everyone safe.
“Communication is the key element to building lasting relationships” Weck said. “Implementing a comprehensive social media strategic plan has allowed our department to shift our communication strategy from a purely ‘information distribution model’ to an engaging platform which we can use to tell the story of the Summit Police Department and the work that our officers do to help develop the Summit community. Diversification of media channels plays a key role in this strategy.”
Implementing campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube allow us to reach the people we serve in a timely, convenient and relevant manner.
Additionally, the creation two unique video series ‘Off the Cuff: Conversations with the Summit Police’ and the Summit Street Smarts Safety Series as well as a recent partnership with Nextdoor, a private social media network for neighborhoods, help us distribute information about our department and important safety updates on a large-scale to a diverse and wide audience.
We’re proud to be a leader in this innovative area of law enforcement and are proud that our social media efforts have afforded our department the opportunity to build upon the dynamic relationships we share with the community while enhancing public safety.”