BARNEGAT, NJ – The national news may be overrun with stories about negative interactions between law enforcement and everyday people. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case in Barnegat, where local officials continue to enhance already exemplary policies and procedures.
Barnegat Police Chief Keith Germain took over to lead the department just a few years ago. He considers the men and women members of his team. Germain also believes that training starts at the highest level and looks for solutions before problems even begin.
The Barnegat chief’s personal efforts have included a trip to Scotland, where a contingency of New Jersey police chiefs learned how a country’s law enforcement works with limited use of firearms. Only four percent of Scotland cops carry guns.
Germain already knew that de-escalating situations was a critical technique in law enforcement. The Scotland trip provided him with more evidence.
According to Germain, only a very small percentage of the population cause a large percentage of the crimes and disorder. The police department plays an important role in the community in addition to apprehending criminals and investigating/solving crimes.
Community involvement has always been part of the Barnegat policing model. Last month, Germain took to a live broadcast to explain that the department intended to really refine the concept of neighborhood policing.
The Neighborhood Policing initiative was formalized just days ago. Officers are assigned to specific streets, allowing them to establish a relationship with local residents. The Police Department’s website provides more information – including assignment of officers to each street.
“We just put up the list and received emails from twenty residents directed to the officers in their neighborhood,” shared Germain in an interview yesterday. “Our officers are already scheduled to go make personal introductions.”
One senior community liked the concept so much that they invited the local officers to a group gathering. Heritage Bay residents will have the opportunity of meeting their neighborhood police officers.
Meanwhile, the new model comes with other types of stories. Take for example the tale of two teenagers who found it strange when an officer approached them.
John Snowden is the president of the township’s little league. As such, he has the ability to turn on the lights at the field. When his son Bryan, 17 asked if he and a friend could go over to practice hits and fielding, he thought nothing of it.
The teenagers were playing ball when they saw a police officer pull up and get out of his car. They figured they were about to get kicked off the field.
They watched as the officer walked the perimeter of the field searching for the entrance. When he made it in, the two young men were surprised at what happened next.
The Barnegat officer took time to explain the neighborhood initiative. It turns out the friendly cop was an athlete himself. He shared his experiences of playing college football in Pennsylvania.
“My son came home with a big grin as he relayed the story,” Snowden said. “He was a 100 percent happy with meeting the officer.”
Sign up for TAPinto E-News alerts to be the first to read about all things local.
Please send all story leads or Letters to the Editor to firstname.lastname@example.org.