BARNEGAT, NJ – Most business professionals acknowledge that some of their best success stories come as a result of exchanging ideas. As it turns out, Barnegat Police Chief Keith Germain finds the same is true for law enforcement authorities.
Earlier this month, Chief Germain joined a contingency of nineteen police chiefs from New Jersey to meet with officers and staff from Police Scotland. While it was Germain’s first trip, it was a repeat visit for other members of the NJSACOP.
NJSACOP is an acronym that stands for New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police. It is a professional organization comprised of law enforcement and private security executives.
Taxpayers bore no expense of the Barnegat Chief’s travel to Scotland. Instead, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s authorized funding through the Township’s Law Enforcement account.
“Money in this account serves as a repository of money seized from drug dealers and other illegal activities,” explained Germain. “It can only be used for law enforcement purposes, and the Prosecutor’s office needs to okay its release.”
The Chief also financially contributed to the overseas meeting. He views learning how others police as part of his professional development. “You can’t expect of the agency if you can’t expect of yourself,” shared Germain.
Why Police Scotland?
Since it wasn’t their first visit across the pond, the New Jersey Association of Chiefs already had an established relationship with Police Scotland. That said, the potential value between the two agencies somewhat comes down to their differences.
“Only four percent of the police force carries firearms,” shared Germain. “Of course, there’s another big difference. There are sixty times more guns here than the entire population of Scotland.”
The lack of weapons actually impacts how law enforcement authorities in Scotland approach situations. “A lot of our focus was on avoiding deadly force,” said the Chief. “We concentrated on techniques to de-escalate conflicts.”
The curriculum also included Police Scotland’s use of the Contact Assessment Model (CAM) and the prioritization of calls.
“Their agency actually schedules a time for non-emergent calls requiring police assistance,” shared Germain. “This not only helps manage resources but also makes it more convenient for people who need to do something such as report a break into their car and also need to get their kids off to school.”
Germain noted other benefits in interacting with colleagues, seemingly a world apart. “It’s good to get outside the normal circle and comfort zone.” he said,” he said. “It helps us to stay progressive as an agency.”
The exchange of information included sharing solutions in tackling the opioid crisis. Apparently, Scotland has one of their own. Connections were made between the Ocean County Health Department and their Scotland counterparts.
On the Department’s Facebook page, the Chief summed up his experience, “Through the candid exchange of successes, failures, strategies, and policing philosophies, we were able to gain valuable insights that will help us continue to innovate and improve the way we do things for our service population here at home.”
Stephanie A. Faughnan is a local journalist and Director of Writefully Inspired, a professional writing and resume service. Feel free to contact her at email@example.com.