DENVILLE, NJ -- Maintaining law and order in Denville Township sounds tough for some, but for Police Chief Frank Perna, such a duty has been enjoyable since being sworn in on Feb. 1, 2019.
“I am very fortunate and blessed to be the eighth police chief of the Denville Township Police Department,” said Chief Perna.
“The members of the department and the great community we serve make my job very easy. We as a department continue to work through some difficult times to keep our community safe and healthy. The easiest is coming to work every day.”
With community events being canceled, council meetings being held virtually and social distancing becoming the new norm, Chief Perna and the Denville police continue their regular duties.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we made a few adjustments within the department, but I truly want to thank the officers and support staff of the Police Department, Department of Public Works and Town Hall for all they have done to keep our community safe and running smoothly,” said Chief Perna.
Aside from maintaining community health, the Denville police have also been battling negative receptions that police officers nationwide have been experiencing in light of the killing of George Floyd by law enforcement, which has inspired rallies for racial justice across the nation and around the world.
“We as a police department and as a community strive to make our town safe for all of our residents and for all those who visit,” said Chief Perna in a recent letter.
“We attempt to achieve our core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, respect, and compassion for all in our community every day we come to work. Our officers go through a multistep hiring process, a thorough background investigation, a 20-week training academy, and then a 12-week field-training program prior to becoming a police officer in Denville. Also, our training consists of, but is not limited to, Use of Force, Bias-based Policing, Ethics, and CLEAR Training (Community Law Enforcement Affirmative Relations), which was established by the Attorney General’s Office. CLEAR training is universal training and contains a mandatory course on Cultural Diversity, De-Escalation, and Bias Crime Reporting. That course covers police interactions with various faiths and cultures, as well as recognizing and reporting bias crimes. The final section of the standards addresses the CLEAR Institute and academy training. It directs that the Division of Criminal Justice, law enforcement and community stakeholders regularly update the curriculum for these mandatory courses.”
“We currently do not have body cameras, but we do utilize mobile cameras in our frontline patrol vehicles. Every officer assigned to those vehicles are recorded during car stops and citizen contacts.”
“Our Internal Affairs complaints are taken and forwarded to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office for initial review. We also have an Early Warning System that is monitored by our Internal Affairs Officer and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Professional Standards Unit. The Early Warning System was established to identify and intervene on negative behavior prior to it escalating.”
“We as a department will continue to educate and train ourselves so that we can give our community the best service as possible,” said Chief Perna.
“We will also continue our community outreach programs: Law Enforcement Against Drugs, Junior Police Academy, Citizens Junior Police Academy, School Resource Officers, Coffee with a Cop, National Night Out, to name a few, as well as look to improve our department every day.”
Chief Perna has served on the Denville police force since 1994. He has professional certifications and specialized training from the Graduate Police Chiefs Association of Command and Leadership School (West Point) and in advanced criminal investigation, crisis/hostage negotiations, interview and interrogation, scientific content analysis, leadership in times of crisis, community policing, supervision of police personnel, and homicide and sex crimes investigation. He also has served as a D.A.R.E. (drug abuse resistance education) instructor and active shooting instructor for middle and high schools.
Chief Perna is a 1992 alumnus of Kutztown University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a 1994 graduate of the Morris County Police Training Academy. He also has earned credits toward a master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickenson University.
Active with the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), Chief Perna has served as president (2001-05), vice president (1997-2001 and 2005-present) and a member of the Negotiation Committee. He also has been involved with the Morris County Detectives Association.
In the community, Chief Perna has been involved with the Junior Police Academy, Denville Municipal Alliance Committee, Denville Police Athletic League Board, Denville Men’s Softball League and PBA community charity events. He also has served as a Denville Hub Soccer coach and a substitute teacher at Morris Knolls High School and St. Mary’s School.
Click here for more information on the Denville Township Police Department's hiring process, training, Internal Affairs complaints and other areas in response to citizen inquiries.
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