LIVINGSTON, NJ — In support of the Livingston Police Department (LPD) and everything the officers do for the township, each member of the Livingston High School (LHS) baseball team has attached the LPD logo and a single officer’s badge number to his batting helmet for the remainder of the season.
During the weeks that cyber threats were being made to the school earlier this year, the officers patrolling the LHS campus got to know many faculty members and students, including head baseball coach Mickey Ennis. After striking up a conversation with Officer Joy Klapal and Chief of Police Craig Handschuch, Ennis and the officers formed what they are calling the “Blue-Green Shield Program” as a way for the players to get to know the members of their local law enforcement.
As part of the program, each player has been assigned a police officer to get to know over the course of the season. During a ceremony attended by more than a dozen officers prior to practice on Thursday, the players officially attached the LPD logo to their helmets along with an individualized badge number representing the officer that they have been assigned to.
“We have tremendous respect for what [the officers] do every day for us and we just wanted to show a little bit of that appreciation on our end,” said Ennis. “I’ve been in this town 30 years now and I’ve never really had the opportunity to get to know our police officers in town. I thought our kids needed to know the people who are protecting us here in Livingston.”
Ennis said the coaches enjoyed seeing the players interact one-on-one with their individual officers during the ceremony and hope that the players will get to know the other members of the department as well.
According to Ennis, the officers are hoping to also attach the number of their assigned player to their uniforms in the coming weeks. The members of the department believe that it is equally important that they get to know the students as well.
Ennis said the hope is that this idea spreads to other programs in town, both in and out of the high school. In addition to building a relationship between the students and the department, he said he hopes the program will demonstrate the team’s respect for the work the officers do for the township.
“Anytime we can demonstrate the important relationship between the Livingston schools and the township, it is a great idea,” said LHS Principal Mark Stern. “We have great respect for the Livingston Police Department and appreciate all they do on a daily basis. It is an honor for us to represent the individual law enforcement officers by wearing their badge numbers on our helmets.”