Moench's Musings

Protect Our Township Through Innovation


Whether we’re discussing the opioid crisis or concerns about mental health and mass shootings, it’s clear that business as usual is not sufficient.  It’s time for government to rethink how we approach law enforcement and mental health and look for lasting solutions within our community. 

Recently, I called upon our township to evaluate a program implemented in Stafford Township (Ocean County) under the leadership of Stafford Mayor John Spodofora and Stafford Police Chief Thomas Dellane called On P.O.I.N.T.  (Proactive Outreach in Needs and Treatment).   Congressman Tom MacArthur recently urged the federal government to adopt the program as a national model, and it has received awards from the Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma and the Mental Health Awareness Committee of Ocean County.  Whether Bridgewater could duplicate it exactly needs to be considered further, but this is exactly the type of thinking we need to be doing.  

The program works like this. The township would partner with a social services program, who would provide social workers to work out of the police station two days a week.  When the police department comes into contact with residents or a situation where the officer feels more help could be needed, the police officer will refer those individuals to the social workers.  The social workers will then reach out to those individuals to try to provide assistance.  Residents referred to the program are not forced to take advantage of it, but if the resident is interested, this could be the key helping hand needed to get individuals and families help before a situation escalates. 

Sign Up for E-News

The types of situations referred to these social workers varies from potential drug abuse, mental health concerns, hording and unsafe living conditions, or strained family situations.  Many times the police officers can see an unhealthy or unsafe situation, but are not trained on how to provide long term solutions.  Now, working with partners in the mental health field, those individuals and families may be able to get the help that they need.

This has several impacts. First, it recognizes that police today are more than simply law enforcement, or they certainly should be, but we need to give them the tools to more effectively do their jobs and increase the safety of our community proactively, not just by reactively catching the bad guys.  Second, we work to diffuse situations early that could get worse – the young adult on his way to a greater struggle with drugs, the teenage facing depression, or the person living in unsafe conditions before there is a health risk.  The actions of this program increased the quality of life for Stafford residents and proactively made the town safer.  It may be able to do the same in Bridgewater.

So what’s the cost? Stafford has done it through private partnerships and grant money – so no out of pocket cost to the taxpayers.  Even if the program was included in the budget, it is not expensive to implement.  Furthermore, it saved thousands of hours of police man-power as Stafford’s program demonstrated that when chronic problems were resolved through the help of the social workers, police were no longer responding to those residents’ houses with regularity.  Thus, the officers were then free to address other issues in the township. 

No program is magic and it can’t fix every problem.  Residents would still need to be open to getting help, but isn’t it time to try something different?  Sometimes the only thing a person in crisis needs is someone to reach out to them and offer them a lifeline.   We should bring this program to Bridgewater and take a step towards making our community a safer and healthier place to live.

Check out a video about Stafford's program below. 



Bridgewater resident, and township councilman, Matthew Moench will provide general commentary on state, federal and local issues affecting Bridgewater, as well as current events and other topics affecting the community.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Fri, April 20

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Les Photos de Bernie at the Wayrick ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Fri, April 20, 2:00 PM

Bridgewater Township Library, Bridgewater

Backyard Birds

Education Home & Garden

Sat, April 21

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Les Photos de Bernie at the Wayrick ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

New Jersey Association of School Librarians Urges BRRSD to Keep All Librarians

April 18, 2018

To the Editor:

The following letter was sent to the Bridgewater-Raritan school superintendent as well as members of the school board from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL).  

As the statewide organization for school library media specialists, the organization advocates for strong school library programs for all students.  NJASL is disheartened to learn that a ...

Bridgewater Police Arrest Two for $600 Theft at Lord & Taylor

April 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Two were arrested March 31 for a theft of over $600 worth of merchandise from Lord & Taylor, in the Bridgewater Commons Mall, according to a report from Bridgewater Township Police.

Mariam Erkomaishvili, 35, of West Orange, and Mikheil Jalali, 38, of Brooklyn, were arrested for shoplifting after they were allegedly found with $624 worth of ...

Hidden in Plain Sight Program to Provide Tips on Recognizing Drug Use in Teens

April 18, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater-Raritan High School, on Garretson Road, will be hosting "Hidden in Plain Sight," a program to help parents recognize the signs a child might be using drugs or alcohol.

The program will be held April 24 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. There will be a light dinner at 6:30 p.m.

DEA Agent Tim McMahon will speak to parents and students about the signs to look ...

Hillsborough Rotary Fair: Fun Place to Do Business

April 17, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The Rotary Club of Hillsborough will provide local businesses multiple opportunities to showcase their services and connect directly with customers at its 11th annual Rotary Fair, scheduled this year for Aug. 14–19.

More than 15,000 people from Hillsborough and surrounding communities are expected to visit the weeklong family event held at the Hillsborough Promenade, ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Bateman Bill to Require Training, Licensing for Pet Groomers

April 15, 2018

TRENTON, NJ - Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16) will introduce legislation to increase protections for family pets by requiring pet groomers to be properly trained and licensed following the deaths of three dogs in five months at different New Jersey pet salons.

“It is sadly far too common for us to read of dog grooming deaths in the news,” said Bateman.