LINDEN, NJ — On May 22, the Linden Police Department hosted a community event to celebrate the grand reopening of the city’s Community Oriented Police Station.
The event, which was held at the Linden Multi-Purpose Center, gave residents the opportunity to meet the officers working in their neighborhoods. The event also included a meet and greet with Linden Mayor Derek Armstead and Linden Chief of Police Jonathan Parham, as well as games and giveaways for children and their families.
The building, at Union Street and Bishop Evans Way, was last occupied in 2011 and fell into disrepair after it was closed that same year. The Linden Public Property Department remodeled the interior of the building, changed the layout to accommodate public access and gave the building a facelift, complete with new floors, walls and a fresh coat of paint.
The philosophy behind community policing emphasizes partnerships between police officers and residents, with police officers working closely with citizens and community agencies to implement crime prevention strategies and problem-solving measures.
Parham said the 128-member department has renewed its emphasis on community policing principles.
“We are excited to reopen this building as a symbol of our commitment to building a stronger partnership with residents,” Parham told LocalSource in a May 24 email. “The building represents a tangible commitment to improving police-community partnerships. Community policing in Linden started in this area over 25 years ago, so when we began to refocus on building stronger relationships with the community, this was the logical place to begin. It is important to remember, though, that community policing is more than a building. It is the people and relationships that make community policing work.”
According to Parham, who became the city’s first black police chief in September, community policing is about fostering a strong partnership between the residents and the LPD.
“Community policing requires officers and citizens working together to understand the needs of our community,” Parham said. “This facility is just a one part of our plan to build trust and engage with residents. Through public events, social media and substations like this, we can help officers become more accessible to the public and increase transparency.”
Armstead expressed excitement at the opening of the community policing substation.
“We are very happy with Chief Parham’s decision to reopen the C.O.P. (Community Oriented Policing) building,” Armstead said in a May 25 email. “This move will strengthen the ties between the LPD and our community. We feel that our community is our greatest resource when it comes to crime prevention. With the opening of this building, it will also be a benefit to the new proposed redevelopments soon to come.”
Parham noted that community policing is not restricted to one building or area.
“The entire Linden Police Department is committed to building trust and relationships with our entire community, and we are looking into adding additional substations in other locations throughout town.”