LIVINGSTON, NJ – During this year’s “Essex County Police and Public Safety Expo” held at the Livingston Mall—where Livingston police officers joined the county’s Crime Prevention Officers Association in its effort to create partnerships among the law enforcement community and reduce crime throughout Essex County—Livingston Officer Kevin Mullaney earned the award for Essex County Crime Prevention Officer of the Year.

As Livingston Chief of Police Gary Marshuetz bestowed the award, he praised Mullaney’s work on writing threat assessments and emergency operation plans as well as conducting security drills for all of Livingston’s schools and houses of worship. Marshuetz also spoke about the partnerships that Mullaney has formed with hundreds of community members through his position as a both a Community Policing Officer and a SWAT Officer. According to Marshuetz, this dual purpose marries two different extremes of a policing profession.

Marshuetz also remarked that he was pleased with the partnership that the Livingston Police Department shares with the community as well as the Department’s relationship with the Livingston Mall.

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Noting that Livingston Mall Security Director Dominick Morizio works in collaboration with the department, Marshuetz explained that Mullaney assists Morizio with active shooter drills and education as well as the Retail Awareness Committee (RAC) meetings. During these RAC Meetings, Morizio and Mullaney emphasize the importance of being a good witness.

In conjunction with the witness training, Mullaney presented Jimmy Apuy, an employee at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, with a "Crime Prevention" Award for his actions on Dec. 21, 2018. 

On that day, Apuy recognized a customer’s $100 bill as being counterfeit and notified security rather than simply returning the bill the customer.  According to Mullaney, who responded to the scene, the suspects were found in the GNC store and the bills were confirmed to be fraudulent.

After both individuals were arrested, Livingston police also discovered that the vehicle they drove to the Livingston Mall had been stolen and was involved in a state police chase days a few earlier. Mullaney commended Apuy for actions that ultimately resulted in the suspects’ apprehension for not only the counterfeit bills, but for the ongoing vehicle felony case as well.

In speaking about this year’s Police and Public Safety Expo, Mullaney explained that the event’s purpose was to educate the public about police equipment and some policies as well as to unite the many police departments that attended.

“The purpose of the event was not just to bring together the law enforcement community, but also to allow visitors of the mall to experience some of the many ‘tools of the trade’ that law enforcement has to offer,” he said. “Police vehicles, SWAT trucks, bomb detection devices, body armor, K-9’s and other police equipment were all available for guests to take pictures of and learn about.”

Summarizing the goal of community outreach programs like the Livingston Mall Police Expo, Mullaney said the hope is that giving people the opportunity to learn more about the police will “better strengthen the partnership between law enforcement and their communities.”

“A strong partnership will lead to more trust and the reduction and prevention of crime, which is exactly what the Essex County Crime Prevention Officers Association aims to accomplish,” said Mullaney.

Also participating in the event were former Community Policing Officer Gary Mankowitz, who currently serves as president of the Essex County Crime Prevention Officers Association, and Orlando Soto, a retired police lieutenant from the Orange department who now serves Livingston as a police chaplain.

Soto, who attended with other members the Abundant Life Worship Center in Whippany, administered an opening blessing to formally start the event and also offered free "Behind the Badge" Devotional Books for law enforcement members.

Following his blessing, a bagpiper played patriotic songs as the officers marched toward the center of the mall for an opening ceremony and award distribution.

Other officials that attended the event included representatives from the Florham Park, Millburn, West Orange, East Orange, Orange, Fairfield, Verona, Newark and Essex Fells police department as well as the New Jersey Institute of Technology Police Department, the Rutgers (UMDNJ) Police Department, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, American Red Cross and more.