SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Janine Buckner and her neighbors, troubled by the graffiti that began to appear on nearby buildings last fall, knew something should be done.

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Hoping to resolve the problem on her block, Buckner became involved with the Neighborhood Watch Organization, and took on the challenge of coordinating the program for the entire village.

A year later, Neighborhood Watch is an organized chain of homes, streets and neighborhoods that are broken up into areas. The program serves as a two-way communication channel between the South Orange Police Department and village residents.

“I am so proud to be involved for the sake of my neighbors and the SOPD,” Buckner said.

She encourages people to be aware and ask questions if they suspect any behavior. Residents should make use of the police, who will check out anything that is of concern.

“The police are professionals; they know what they are doing,” she said.

Buckner was honored this summer by the village Board of Trustees for her dedication to the program. She said she had no idea she would be honored. “It is not just me – it is the work of the residents and SOPD working together that have made the program a success,” she said.

Buckner, who is an associate professor and director of graduate studies at Seton Hall University in the department of psychology, is one of the first citizens to receive a commendation from the \ SOPD.

Buckner works very closely with Sgt. Al DiEsso and police Chief Chalel. She said the SOPD and Neighborhood Watch are working together to continue the success of the program.

The Neighborhood Watch program is accessible by contacting nwc.sonj@gmail.com or calling 973-763-3000, Ext. 2. Buckner said she works closely with community relations and finds it most important to “be aware, communicate, call your neighbors, and call the police.”

Buckner’s knowledge of psychology ties into her interest in the Neighborhood Watch program. “Human behavior, law programs, and how people manage law enforcement have always been interests to me,” Buckner said.

Raised in Brick Township, she is a twin in a family of six children. She said she was always interested in the dynamics of ownership and self identity. This led her to pursue her undergraduate studies at Skidmore College. Choosing to continue her education, she received her master’s degree and her doctorate at Emory University.