TRENTON, NJ - The Roselle Police Department will receive a Community Policing Grant in honor of Summit, NJ Detective Matthew L. Tarentino who tragically lost his life in a motor vehicle accident on May 30.

The $10,000 Grant will go to the departments “Book 'Em: Read with a Cop” program. The program will bring law enforcement closer together with local youth while promoting literacy in conjunction with the borough’s public schools and the Roselle Public Library. The multi-phase program will reach children from kindergarten to middle school, with officers reading to children and hosting Family Reading Nights, where crafts and snacks will fit the themes of police and reading.

“I am extremely pleased that the, Roselle Police Department received this grant award in detective Tarantino’s name,” said Roselle Police Chief Gerard Orlando. “He was a dedicated family man, community policing officer and gentleman. He is missed by all law enforcement agencies especially those in Union County and I am honored as I'm sure all law enforcement agencies who received the grant award to conduct the grant award programs in his name."

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In June, Attorney General Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced the new program offering competitive grants of up to $10,000 per department for police to fund innovative community policing initiatives in honor of Detective Tarentino. 

Roselle was chosen as one of the 28 communities to receive the award in the first round of grants with more than 130 communities applying. 

“The overwhelming response we received from law enforcement for this new program is a tribute to Detective Tarentino and a testament to the strong commitment of New Jersey officers to community policing,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Detective Tarentino had a tremendous passion for public service and embraced the community he served in a remarkable way. The initiatives we are funding will honor his extraordinary spirit and keep that spirit alive across our state.”

“Every year we invite police departments to apply for a range of grant programs, but I can’t recall ever being inundated with applications like we were for this program honoring Detective Tarentino,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Officers in New Jersey clearly understand that everybody wins when they engage in a personal way with residents and gain their confidence and trust.”

Community policing fosters relationships of collaboration, trust, and understanding between law enforcement agencies and their communities. Law enforcement agencies acting alone can rarely solve the difficult public safety problems facing communities in today’s world. Only with meaningful public support and engagement can law enforcement agencies begin to confront these complex issues and effectively protect and serve the public.

Funding under the grant program is allocated to help pay for non-enforcement related community engagement activities and programs.  The following are just a few examples of initiatives being funded with the 28 grant awards. Also receiving awards were:

• The Berkeley Township Police Department will co-host Manitou Park Family Unity Day with the township recreation department.  The Berkeley Police will offer free lunch and dinner cookouts at the event, which is scheduled for August 19 from noon to 8 p.m., as a way to foster positive interaction between police and residents in that area of the township. Activities will include games, bike safety inspections, and providing free helmets to children who need them.

• The Morris County Sheriff’s Office will host a barbecue this fall for its Project Lifesaver Program, a locating/tracking service for over 100 elderly and special needs clients at risk of wandering.  The barbecue will show appreciation for client caregivers and families. It also will involve Sheriff’s Office partners, including the International Project Lifesaver Program, Morris County Division of Aging, and police agencies from municipalities where the clients reside.

• The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office will bring free, mobile ice cream social events to a total of nine different locations on three days with its “Cops, Kids and Cones” program.  The program, along with annual Back to School events held by the prosecutor’s office, is intended to let the community know that the prosecutor’s office is their partner in helping kids make healthy choices, stay in school, and stay safe.

• The New Brunswick Police Department will distribute school backpacks to children at 10 different locations during National Night Out, Aug. 1.  They also will partner with the Suydam Street Reformed Church and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital to host an annual holiday party on Dec. 16 where toys will be distributed to all local children who attend.

In today's award announcement, Attorney General Porrino also announced that a second round of grant funding to honor Detective Tarentino will be offered later this year, for which departments not funded in this round may re-apply. 

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