HOLMDEL, N.J. - The Holmdel Chamber of Commerce took a deep dive at their recent meeting in the WAVE room at Bell Works.  The room was full of local business owners and representatives, community leaders and officials, all gathered to hear Keynote speaker; Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.  Sheriff Golden addressed the critical importance of public safety and urgent issues our communities are facing.  Holmdel Mayor Thomas Critelli was also present for a brief Holmdel Township update.  As guests and members entered the the main lobby of Bell Works to attend the monthly meeting, they were welcomed by the lovely sounds of Holmdel's Al Aloisi playing the grand piano in the atrium area (Aloisi is the owner of Al Aloisi Associates).  

After a lively half hour of networking and enjoying hot coffee (from Booskerdoo in Bell Works), the meeting began with opening remarks from Holmdel Chamber members and then Mayor Critelli gave a brief overview of the town news, mentioning that school safety and fire safety are both priorities in the town and noted that the recent town-wide recreational study was going to be given a lot of focus in the upcoming months. He also mentioned that a recent retreat was held with all of Holmdel Township's department supervisors, regarding how each department responds to the Holmdel residents, and how the departments can improve. Holmdel Mayor Critelli commented, "I'm excited about what we are going to do to continue to improve service in Holmdel. Among other areas we discussed, we focused on recreation, public works and finance to name a few.  We are working together with the Holmdel Board of Education regarding school safety issues, and also with our fire departments on how we can enhance fire safety in our town..."   Mayor Critelli thanked the Chamber for having him. 

 Golden has an extensive resume. He received his master's degree in Public Administration from Seton Hall University, holds a Certified Public Manager's Certification from Fairleigh Dickinson University, attended Brookdale before earning his bachelors from Monmouth University, where he is now an adjunct professor for the past 14 years in the Government and Public Policy Department. Sheriff Shaun Golden was introduced, and after a nice warm round of applause, Golden first complimented and thanked the Holmdel Chamber, and mentioned his great love for Monmouth County, "I've lived in Monmouth County all my life and I love it. I attended St. Joseph's grade school in Keyport.  It's great to be at Bell Works today, it reminds me of my high school days on the bus to Saint John Vianney, as we used to pass this building everyday, it was then called Bell Labs. This is a much welcomed revival here at Bell Works! I grew up in Matawan, and then Colts Neck, and now my family lives in Howell."  Golden then went on to explain his passion for law and public safety with having over 30 years experience.  He has brought that passion for public safety and service to the sheriff's office for the past eight years.  Golden commented, "I love my job as sheriff...  I started as a paramedic and was a volunteer fire fighter and then police officer for Colts Neck, then went to the Toms River Police Department before taking a job at the Monmouth County Sheriff's office and I love it!  The word sheriff is the derivative of the word Shire and the word Reeve.  Shire being the tax collector for the queen and the king of the monarchies and the jail, and the word Reeve (meaning keep the peace).   Those two core functions tax collection and jail are still very much prevalent, and alive and well across the country. The Sheriff's office was the first law establishment formed in Monmouth County...."  Golden mentioned his passion for public safety and keeping the community safe referencing a good message to the business audience is, "A safe community and a secure community leads to good business and good property values.  We have a very good quality of life here in Monmouth County. Holmdel is one of the premier towns, as is Colts Neck where I grew up... we are fortunate to have a very good quality of life in every town in our county." 

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Golden then went on to address the audience about topics ranging from the operations of the Monmouth County Sheriff's Department to school safety, the opioid epidemic, suicide and more. Golden detailed the complexity and scope of the organization he oversees and the challenges he sees from his standpoint to ensure the best possible safety and well being of Monmouth County communities. Sheriff Golden reviewed the historical role of Sheriff and what it means today; "From a historical perspective the Sheriff is the oldest law enforcement position in the country. The primary function still holds true," said Golden.  His office has over 638 employees and a  $68.5 million budget with four major divisions:

1. Communications and Technology - We have an IT center with the latest technology. "When you call 911 right now say from Bell Works you would then be routed to my Freehold 911 center. We have the largest communications division in the state of NJ.   Out of 53 municipalities we handle 31 police departments and a lot of fire and first aid. We handle 142 agencies. Colts Neck was one of the original towns to utilize shared services, and are saving a tremendous amount of money." said Golden The Communications Department Golden oversees handles over 780,000 calls for service in an exceptionally busy county that includes 640,000 residents. Over 120 Communications Operators handle the 911 service in what the Sheriff calls "one of the toughest jobs" in the county. They fielded 780,000 calls in a single year for service with a population of 640,000 people -- the 3rd largest county in the state.

2. Corrections - "We have a 1300 bed facility. It is short term institution and not a prison, they are correctional facilities and not jails. They are clean, and have job training, substance abuse counseling and GED opportunities as well as college credit opportunities from Brookdale.  We have programs to keep them busy, painting, etc.  Our goal here is to have them leave with a new chance on life."  The correctional facility is from 364 days or less awaiting trial or a sentence of 3, 6 or 9 months.  "If it's over a year then you are supposed to be shipped out to a state penitentiary. We have about  600-700 inmates per month and use an inmate labor program in our communities - four labor inmate crews do painting and landscaping, they work in various communities to give back and rehabilitate. It's about correcting behavior and second chances,"  said Golden

3. Special Operations - "This includes canines.  When we started we had 3 canines all bomb control, now we have nine, soon to have ten, and seven of our canine are now narcotic control canines...and we have one tracking blood hound." Our Special Ops run search and rescue, special drone operations. We have our Police Academy, our Rapid Deployment Force, Office of Emergency Management, Dive Teams, Swat Teams, EMS Task Force... Two medical ambulance buses, volunteers on the EMS task force. We are ready

4. Law Enforcement - Two sides to law enforcement-criminal and civic... criminal-law enforcement division includes warrants --serving over 22,000 warrants per year, people wanted from small crimes to murder and everything in-between.  Civil which includes taxes, evictions, sheriff sales, etc. is handled by our office.  "We track down wanted people from the warrants to stand trial and issue about 3800 warrant arrests per year," said Golden. "Two are assigned as US Marshals to go out for extradition, and to bring them back to stand trial." 

-Homeland Security and Technology-Golden continued to talk about various items the Sheriff's office is working on. "We have been working on what revolves around all of us, Homeland Security; our school security, we plan a lot of time securing, planning, preparation and response..."  Golden reviewed several issues confronting us today, and informed the audience about the  Rapid Deployment Force that involves 85 Police Officers from the county ready to respond in a moment's notice in the event of a rapid deployment event. This is a supplement to whatever regular force is on duty in the area where the rapid deployment is needed.  As for technology, we have highly advanced plate meters throughout the county, cameras in our busy malls and in specific areas of towns with high crime rates. We have the best system in the state of New Jersey, here in Monmouth County.   

-Opioid Epidemic and Suicide - "We have an opioid epidemic here in New Jersey like no other state. We spend a lot of time on this crisis. There were 162 deaths last year, 164 the year before.  There were 472 Narcan deployments in our county, 36 were not successful, the narcan did not work. Narcan is now available in schools and is in every law enforcement vehicle and soon over the counter.  Engage your children. We were in high schools and stopped going. Why? We now are going to intermediate schools. We have  an Ambassador Leadership Program where student leaders visit us four times a year. Boy, did they give us an earful they said stop wasting time at the high school, and go down to the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades and start there. We sit in-between NYC and Philly, we have more overdoses here in the suburban areas. It is a suburban problem because there is means here, money to spend." Golden was adamant that households must clear out their unused prescriptions. They are 70% of the feeder path into heroin. Every year we do two massive campaigns to get the medications out of your cabinet.  Our overdose deaths are much lower in urban areas, lower in Long Branch and Asbury Park and higher in Manalapan and Marlboro."  He mentioned that the average age of the overdose victim is between 16-25 and caucasian.  "Pay attention - engage - and talk about it every day to your children," Golden said.  Golden said we want to help these victims of opioid addiction, we need more long term treatment programs. Golden also called for action on a major problem - short term recovery. "We don't have enough beds. New Hope and Phoenix have waiting lists. There is a list a mile long and we need more short term recovery insertions. If we Narcan a person, we need to do more than have them sign off on a release. There is a little loop hole that needs to be closed," said Golden. The goal is to ensure a recovering overdose victim is certain to receive the care they require. "We've seen a significant increase in teen suicide. Our teens have a tremendous amount of pressure, video games and social media are contributing factors. There are alot of great non profits working in Monmouth County to combat social media bullying and different factors that contribute to suicide. Parents must engage, you have to check your children and teen's cell phones.  You have to engage in all aspects of your children and teen's life." 

-In addition, Golden gave the audience an overview and update on school security methods and local gun control law enforcement. 

The Holmdel Chamber's Non-profit Spotlight for the day was Collier Youth Services. For more information about Collier Youth Services, helping children in Monmouth County reach their full potential visit http://www.collieryouthservices.org

Note: Mark your calendar's the next Holmdel Chamber of Commerce Meeting is Tuesday, March 27th at 8am at Bell Works. We have another amazing guest speaker lined up tune into TAP tomorrow for details.  Follow The Holmdel Chamber of Commerce on Facebook. 

Additional Information about the office of Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden can be found at his website http://www.mcsonj.org

Sheriff Shaun Golden's Bio.- According to the Monmouth County Sheriff Office Web Site, Shaun Golden is the 76th Sheriff of Monmouth County and is the chief executive of the 605 member, $68 million agency which consists of three divisions: law enforcement, communications and corrections, as well as the administration of the Monmouth County Police Academy and the Office of Emergency Management, which played the lead role in preparing for Superstorm Sandy and coordinating the response and recovery efforts during and after the storm.

Sheriff Golden is a lifelong resident of Monmouth County and brings with him a wealth of experience in law enforcement and public administration with over 30 years’ of experience in law enforcement and public safety, as an EMT, certified paramedic and volunteer firefighter. He holds a master’s degree in administration from Seton Hall University, is a NJ Certified Public Manager and an adjunct professor at Monmouth University with the Department of Political Science and Public Policy. The Sheriff has been instrumental in promoting shared services in Monmouth County, specifically through the expansion of the Communications Division, to cost effectively address the ever increasing needs of Monmouth County’s first responders.

Sheriff Golden is the president of the Constitutional Officer’s Association of New Jersey (COANJ), is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Monmouth-Ocean Foundation for Children (MOFFC), sits on the board of the Monmouth County Prevention Coalition and serves as chairman of the Monmouth Council of Boy Scouts Exploring Committee. In 2013 Sheriff Golden received the Maurice Pollak Award for Distinguished Community Service from Monmouth University. Under his leadership, the Sheriff’s Office offers over 28 community safety programs throughout the county and has partnered with Neptune High School in establishing Explorer Post #1 at Neptune High School for the Jump Start Law/Criminal Justice students as well as partnering with Neptune for the annual Sheriff Youth Week