CRANFORD - Trading cards featuring photos and biographies of 52 Cranford Police Department officers, including Chief Ryan Greco, were unveiled today and are now in the hands of those officers. They will be distributed by officers as a way to open up communications with the public.

"These trading cards are going to provide us with a valuable tool to connect with children and show the human-side of policing; as well as an aid to get to know your local police department," Chief Greco said. Cranford officers were last featured on similar trading cards in 2000 and the project was a huge success. Several of our veteran officers who were featured in the first set are also in this year's cards.

In addition to active police officers, this year's trading card set will also feature some of the Cranford Police Department's civilian staff. Chief Greco added, "The cost of the cards was funded by sponsorship money from local residents and businesses."

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Each officer was given 800 trading cards to share with the children in the community. The timing of this year's trading cards works well since the celebration of National Night Out on August 7th is right around the corner. However, the Cranford Police Department is adding some incentive to collect the trading cards. Any child who collects 10 different trading cards will be given one entry into a prize drawing to be held later this year. Children who collect 20 trading cards will be given two entries. Entries for the drawing can be simply obtained by showing your trading card collection to the Cranford Police Department Communications Center in the Township's Municipal Building. The winner(s) of the prize will not need to be present at the time of the drawing.

The project was spearheaded by the Cranford Police Department Community Policing Unit and is part of a series of initiatives aimed at encouraging interactions with our local youth and presenting the officers as role models.

For the safety of our children, we ask parents to not have their children approach a police officer while they are conducting a motor vehicle stop or while they are directing traffic.