MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Morristown Bureau Police Department and Mayor Timothy Dougherty announced the launch of the new ‘Morristown Safe Place’ program as a way to help members help reduce hate crimes within the LGBTQ community. The program follows a similar model developed by the Seattle Police Department back in 2015 by Officer Jim Ritter who also traveled to Morristown for this event. Morristown is the first municipality in New Jersey to join this program.
“It is important that we all understand that everyone in Morristown needs to feel welcomed and safe here and I am very proud to be standing here and to see so many police officers supporting this program,” said Dougherty.
The “Morristown Safe Place” fosters a relationship between local businesses and the police department in order to provide a safe spot for anyone who feels they are in danger. While Starbucks is the first business to in town to launch this program, many other businesses have already expressed interest.
All participating businesses will display the “MPD Safe Place” decal depicting a rainbow shield in their window as a symbol of safety. All employees will also be trained to recognize and accommodate individuals in distress and need of help by providing a safe location in the place of business while waiting for police response.
Chief of Police Peter Demnitz was also excited to take part in this program as well because often times, people may be hesitant to reach out to the police for help.
“Often times we don’t realize how intimidating we look in our uniforms and that people are hesitant about approaching us,” he said.
With this program Demnitz hopes to form a stronger relationship with the LGBTQ community in Morristown.
“I am happy that Morristown Medical Center brought the Safe Place Program to the attention of the Morristown Police as well as SPD Officer Ritter’s efforts to assist us in launching the program here.” He continued, “Any opportunity to connect with and assist Morristown’s diverse community is a positive for the police agency and the people served,” he also stated in a press release sent out to members of the community about this program.