NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Sgt. Dennis Carovillano, 24-year officer. was among the nineteen individuals and four organizations recently recognized by the Union County Human Relations Commission at their 18th annual Unity Achievement Award dinner on May 6. 

According to Commission, the award recipients were nominated and selected for their philanthropic and volunteer efforts, and for fostering and promoting human rights and dignity among the people of Union County. Award categories again included achievements by a corporate/business enterprise, community organization, nonprofit organization, and individual, member of law enforcement, public servant, student, educator, clergy, faith-based organization, military/veteran, and member of the media. 

“The Commission is proud to recognize our local role models who dedicate themselves to helping others and strengthening our communities,” Commissioner Co-Chair Jo Ann Hamilton said. “These regular people do extraordinary things to make others’ lives better, and the evening’s presentation highlights all of the good that is being accomplished in Union County.”

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Sgt. Carovillano was recognized for his steadfast belief in, and commitment to the UCHRC's Police and Teens Together Program (PATT), and more importantly for training officers to conduct and hold their own program by instructing them at the John H Stamler Police Academy in Community Policing courses. 

The award stated:

When the Union County Human Relations Commission launched its Police & Teens Together Program in the spring of 2000 at Elizabeth High School, the visions was to introduce the program to every high school in Union County, and offer it consistently year after year.

In 2003, the program was introduced at New Providence High School. That's when then-Officer Dennis Carovillano got on board, coordinating the program between the new Providence Police Department and New Providence High School, and presenting the program to three of Mr. Byron Tracey's Criminology classes. The program was incredibly well received by the students, and it was a resounding success for all involved.

For each of the past 16 years, now-Sg.t Carovillano has been responsible for ensuring the program has been consistently delivered to two to three Criminology classes. While other high schools have run the program multiple times, New Providence Police Department is the only Union County police department to deliver the program as conceived and designed. For that, they have greatly benefited from creating a school culture wherein teenagers and police officers can openly communicate with each other and learn to respect each other. Furthermore, when an encounter occurs or is needed, it does not evoke feelings of fear and anxiety on the part of the teenage students.

In addition, Sgt. Carovillano has served as a co-instructor with UCHRC Commissioner Karen Positan presenting a bi-annual in-service "train the trainer" course at the John H. Stamler Police Academy to encourage other municipal departments throughout the state to adopt this amazing and impactful program and implement it in their local high schools. They have also delivered presentations at the New Jersey Juvenile Officers Association Annual Conference and at the Union County Juvenile Officers Association meetings.

The Union County Human Relations Commission is grateful to Sgt. Carovillano for believing so strongly in the program, assisting us in documenting its many benefits, and for helping us encourage other law enforcement officers to put this powerful program to work in their own communities.