LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Annual Essex County Police Expo, which was hosted by the Essex County Crime Prevention Officers Association, returned to the Livingston Mall on Saturday, May 4. It was kicked off with an opening ceremony honoring the Police Unity Tour and the Essex County Crime Prevention Officers of the Year: Det. Debra Cole-Granger of Newark Police Department and Sgt. Richard Potts (Ret.) of the West Orange Police Department. 

Guests were then invited to walk through the mall and enjoy local, county, state and federal agency booths and displays. Outside, members of the community viewed live demonstrations of police equipment and explored different types of vehicles used by law enforcement officers such as: patrol cars, motorcycles, trucks, and fire trucks from agencies including the Canine and Mounted Police Units, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Crime Scene Unit, the NJSPCA Mobile Command Center Disaster Response Unit, the NJ Department of Corrections, The Red Cross, and the Fire Safety House. 

“This is a great event,” said police officer Joy Klapel, of the Livingston Community Policing/DARE Unit.

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Officer Gary Mankowitz, President of the Essex County Crime Prevention Officers Association added, “Last year we had over forty participating agencies and this year there are even more—the numbers grow every year.”

William H. Illge, of the Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department and Saint Barnabas Burn Foundation, lead the fire safety house demonstrations all day. He said, “Every hour of every day, someone in the US dies in a fire—that is 24 people a day.”

He provided guests with fire safety tips such as the importance of sleeping with a closed bedroom door, and touching the door from top to bottom in case of a fire.

“If the door is hot, do not open it,” he added. “If the room is filled with smoke, crawl to a window and look for the fire fighters to hoist a ladder to rescue you.”

He also said that all families should have a designated meeting spot outside of the house in case of a fire.

The Expo also featured Safety Programs, such as: *Drug Abuse Resistance Education* (*D.A.R.E*), How to Safely Navigate the Internet, Tips to Prevent Crime, Child Safety Seat Demonstrations and Inspections, the Kid Care Child ID Program, and much more. 

Guests also met and posed with Batman and the Batmobile, the Joker, Malibu Barbie and McGruff the Crime Dog. They also enjoyed music by Pastele and crafts and popcorn provided by Kidgits.