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Police and Law Enforcement Home    >    Editorials    >    Follow Middle Township's Lead


Police and
Law Enforcement News




Follow Middle
Township's Lead
Police and Law Enforcement News
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
  10:56 a.m.


Earlier this month an article appeared in a local Cape May and Atlantic County newspaper about a program launched by the Middle Township Police Department.   It's unfortunate that it didn't get picked up statewide for everyone to see.

The piece was about a community relations effort launched in 2011 called "Cops and Coffee."

Simply, every six weeks or so department personnel appear at a preannounced local restaurant or coffee shop to field concerns from citizens who may not feel comfortable in the confines of a police headquarters.  Residents and business owners can have coffee with and get to know their local officers in a relaxed setting and share any concerns they may have.

Officers take notes, investigate the complaints and relate their findings back to the citizens at a later time.  Hopefully, they can solve the problem.

The department reports that anywhere from six to ten people show up each time with concerns ranging from speeding to drug activity. 

By all accounts, the program has been very well received.

And why not.  It's so simple, so clever.  It's back-to-basics community policing.

But the bigger picture here is this: at a time when police departments are closing down programs, Middle Township is launching them.

This is so incredibly important for several reasons.

First, it's clear that we have to learn to do more with less.  We may have had to temporarily table some of the more extravagant outreach efforts, but outreach is still needed. 

For some agencies, community contact is limited to getting ambushed at the twice-a-month council or committee meeting. 

This is a grave mistake. 

When this becomes the only vehicle for receiving complaints, it usually means that citizens don't feel that the department is approachable by other means or they feel that the agency is only responsive when complaints come in through elected officials.

Second, community policing should never be viewed as a policing philosophy for good economic times.  It is for all times.  And the big secret here - which is sometimes lost on us - is that law enforcement has more to gain from community policing than does the public.

Finally, we need more friends. 

There are some that will always support us.  There are some that will always hate us.  And then there is the middle: those who could go either way.  These are the ones we need on our side

Between a poor economy, an increasingly anti-law enforcement media, and a governor who constantly points toward us and other government employees as what is wrong with New Jersey, we have fallen from favor. 

Programs like this bring us back one citizen at a time.

Some mistakenly believe that creating innovation or paradigmatic change in our industry can only be done by the largest or the most well funded departments.  That is just not true.

Middle Township is a forty-five-officer agency located in Cape May County just minutes from the southern most tip of New Jersey. They are far from being a metropolis, but they are doing their part.

The point here is not that every agency should launch this specific program.  This is what works for Middle Township.

The point here is to keep up the fight, now matter how many resources and much personnel are taken away from us.

Our job is too important to accept anything less.

Great job to Chief Christopher M. Leusner, Sgt. Doug Osmundsen, Cpl. Jeff DeVico, Ptl. Scott Frazer and the Middle Township Police Department for reminding everyone we need to keep moving forward.

Use the scroll box below to share your thoughts.




Share your Thoughts on This Editorial

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group, or that are just beyond reason.  Letters will be reviewed and posted each day. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission. 



Your Comments

Great Job MTPD. 100 percent agree with the efforts of MTPD and their chief. It takes good leaders to come up with such a clever conception. Kudos to all those involved!!!!

Unfortunately, the trend toward community policing has just about stopped.  It became the thing of the 90's and has trailed off since.  Today it's all about homeland security.

What a shame too.  Local cops should be about their communities, not about fighting terrorism.

Fine job - please keep up the great work!

One of the many reasons to be  proud of MTPD. They are great!

I love to see programs like this.  We do need more friends.  Great job MTPD.








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