EDISON, NJ — Sargent Donald Ship is launching the new Edison Community Oriented Policing Unit. It originated in California, and Chief of Police Thomas Bryan and Deputy Chief of Police Howard Askelson selected Ship to head the unit.

The objective is for the police to gather feedback from different sectors of the community. Ship explained, “The department will use Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment (SARA) to determine how the community involvement is going and if changes should be implemented.”

Ship shared, “We want to know what the community wants us to do.”

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Ship noted, “Part of the program will be faith-based. We will visit religious institutions.” They will hold open discussions to find out if the parishioners and religious leaders have suggestions about changes in law enforcement.

Another component is “Cops Out and About,” during which “police visit parks, neighborhoods, recreation facilities, and community events to interact with residents.” said Ship.

There will also be a Neighborhood Watch program. “The community will be the eyes and the ears of the police department.”

Before this initiative began, police sought public feedback by hosting informal events like Coffee with a Cop, and then switched to more child/teen-oriented and young family demographic get-togethers like Ice Pop with a Cop, Apple Cider and Donuts with a Cop, and Lemonade with a Cop.

Lieutenant Robert Dudash mentioned, “Those events were fun and successful. This year gatherings were held outside at Roosevelt Park and attended by people of all ages.”

The department strives to get to know people in the community and to show the residents that they care about them and are there to protect and help them.

Despite all of their law-related duties, the Edison Police Department makes time to help residents and organizations in Edison throughout the year.

As the holidays approach, they are running a toy drive, Cops for Tots. The initiative was spurred by COVID’s negative financial impact on the residents of the township.

The police are collecting unwrapped, new toys to distribute to those who have lost their jobs and others in need of assistance.

They also donated turkeys for those in need, so they could enjoy Thanksgiving.

Lieutenant Robert Dudash reported that his favorite community activity is the Junior Police program during which “middle school students spend five days interacting with police while learning law enforcement, marching and saluting. They play dodge ball daily and participate in explore nature.”

Another police initiative is Buddy Ball for special needs students. The police host a barbeque for the children and teens and donate to special needs programs. They also play softball with them.

The Edison PBA (Police Benevolent Association) is the police union. Dudash shared that the “police union is a huge proponent of community activities.”

They have organized and participated in events like No Shave November for Tourette’s Syndrome, the Lakeview School Christmas visit and donation, the Memorial Bike Ride to commemorate Officer Frank Papianni who died in the line of duty and the police Unity Tour 2011.

The police department also offers youth and family counseling. They have two counselors on staff that can be reached at 732-248-7418.

If anyone has a quality of life issues or concerns, email cop@edisonpd.org

To donate toys or other items email: cop@edisonpd.org, or call (732) 248-6462.