Police & Fire

NJ Attorney General Honors Fallen Police Officer from Somerville with Community Grant Program

Summit Police Det. Matthew Tarentino, a Somerville resident, was killed in a three-car collision on Route 78 May 30. Credits: Courtesy Summit Police
Summit police officer Matthew Tarentino was a familiar site in Summit Schools, visiting classrooms to help students cope with problems like drug abuse, gangs, bullying and social media. Credits: Courtesy Summit Police
Summit police officer Matthew Tarentino was a familiar site in Summit Schools, visiting classrooms to help students cope with problems like drug abuse, gangs, bullying and social media. Credits: Courtesy Summit Police

TRENTON, NJ – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino has announced creation of the “Detective Matthew L. Tarentino Community Policing Grant Program,” to provide grants to police departments for innovative programs aimed at fostering strong police-community relations.

The program is named in honor of Tarentino, a Somerville resident and Summit police officer who epitomized the goals of community policing.

Tarentino, who graduated from Immaculata High School in 2006, was killed in a three-car collision on Route 78 in Bernards Township on May 30. He was 29.

Sign Up for E-News

To commemorate Detective Tarentino’s Police Badge No. 121, the Attorney General is making $121,000 in state forfeiture funds available to New Jersey police departments for use in community outreach programs. Departments can apply for individual awards of up to $10,000 to honor the fallen officer through their community policing efforts, according to Porrino.

Tarentino demonstrated a deep commitment to community outreach, particularly the D.A.R.E. program, which is taught to students K-12 by police officers. Drug Abuse Resistance Education seeks to prevent use of drugs, membership in gangs, violent behavior,bullying, internet safety, and other high risk circumstances students encounter.

A few weeks before his death, Tarentino and the Summit Police Department were awarded the Attorney General’s Outstanding Community Policing Award for their successful D.A.R.E. program.

 “Detective Tarentino was respected and beloved in his community because he embodied all of the best qualities of a police officer and role model: selflessness, compassion for others, and an unshakeable dedication and enthusiasm for his calling,” Porrino said.

Tarentino was instrumental in Summit’s successful community policing efforts.

“I had the privilege of meeting Matthew and hearing him speak last month when we honored him and recognized his department for their outstanding community policing efforts. Because he was a visionary in this area, it is only fitting that we hold Matthew up as a model of community policing and public service.”

Tarentino had also recently successfully completed training to become a certified D.A.R.E. instructor with 20 other law enforcement personnel during a week-long program held at the Somerville Elks building in Bridgewater.

“We urge police departments across New Jersey to seek this funding and bring us their innovative ideas for community policing,” said Elie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “In the end, the hallmark of a strong police force is mutual respect and trust between its officers and those they serve.”

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.

To aid police departments that wish to enhance and improve relationships with their communities, the Attorney General’s Office is offering this grant program to fund multiple community policing projects across the state that will promote positive interactions between police and community members.

The Attorney General’s Office will provide approved applicant police departments with up to $10,000 in state criminal forfeiture funds to support development and deployment of community policing programs, activities and events. The Attorney General’s Office is responsible for program administration and will provide technical assistance to applicants during application development and program implementation.

Eligible applicants include state, county and municipal police departments in New Jersey, sheriff’s offices, and college campus police departments. Applicants may propose to enhance or expand an already existing activity or program, or develop a new initiative.

Application forms are posted on the Attorney General’s websitewww.njpublicsafety.com  at the following link:http://nj.gov/oag/grants.htm.

The deadline for applications is July 10, 2017. All awards must be spent during the five-month period from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017.

Funding under this Community Policing Grant will be used to help pay for non-enforcement related community engagement activities and programs, such as, but not limited to:

Community picnics, barbecues, or concerts;

Educational public meetings, forums, or workshops;

Faith-based partnership events;

Cultural or leadership programs;

Athletic leagues or tournaments;

Youth engagement and empowerment activities;

Individual officer/youth partnerships;

Walks, 5Ks, bicycle races; or

Food drives.

Some recent innovative approaches to community policing by local New Jersey law enforcement agencies include police officers reading with kindergarten students, engaging with families to steer kids away from gang recruitment, and spending full days with youth to experience field trips, cultural programs and community events together, according to Porrino.

Another approach features an agency’s “ride along program” for clergy who join police officers in newly painted police cruisers to visit local business owners and residents at their homes, schools and hospitals. Additional community outreach programs include movie nights with police, pop-up barbecues, ice cream with a cop, pizza with a cop, coffee with a cop, shop with a cop, basketball with teens, and a swim meet for charity.

In honoring Detective Tarentino, Attorney General Porrino also thanked the members of the Summit Police Department and Chief Robert K. Weck for their strength and leadership in the days following the loss of Tarentino, who is survived by his widow, Vickie, and two sons, Robbie, 3 and Ray, 2. The couple is expecting their third child in August.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Union Recreation Department's 2nd Annual Open House

March 15, 2018

UNION, NJ - The Union Recreation Department will be hosting their 2nd Annual Open House, a free event, on Friday, March 16, at the Hannah Caldwell School Auditorium, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Representatives from community youth sports organizations, Union Little League, Union Soccer League, and Union Rams football will be present.  From US Sports Institute, representatives for girls field ...

'For the Sake of Our Children' Family Forum

UNION, NJ - The Township of Union Human Relations Committee will host a panel discussion, "For the Sake of Our Children" on Wednesday, March 21.

In light of the recent Parkland tragedy, the panel discussion will be led by Vito Nufrio, Union Board of Education President, Dr. Denise Reid, Cathedral Church Perth Amboy, Rick Landolfi, Deputy Chief, Union Police Department and Mayor ...

Battle Hill Small Business Fair

UNION, NJ - Battle Hill Elementary School PTA is hosting a "Shop til You Drop" Small Business Fair on Friday, March 16, from 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Businesses at the event include Tastefully Simple, Scentsy, Avon, Custom Cookies, Liberty Mutual, and Paparazzi.

Battle Hill is located at 2600 Killian Place.  For information, contact BHPTA1@gmail.com.


Union High School's February Male Athlete of the Month: Elijah Waldron

March 18, 2018

UNION, NJ – Union High School senior Elijah Waldron, a member of the school’s wrestling team, has been selected February’s Male Athlete of the Month.

What’s your favorite part of being a high school athlete?. 

I love the team aspect of it.  Most of my closest friends come from wrestling, and I perform better when I have to do it for a team. 

Who is ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, March 19, 6:00 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, Vauxhall

Adult Genealogy Program with Dr. Valerie Mosley

Education Health & Wellness


Tue, March 20, 11:00 AM

Vauxhall Public Library, Union

Pre-K STEM Story and Craft: "1st Day of Spring"

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, March 20, 1:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Qello Film Concert: Tribute to French ...

Arts & Entertainment


Tue, March 20, 2:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Tuesdays at 2 Movie: "The Shape of Water"

Arts & Entertainment

Union County Students to 'March for Our Lives' Saturday in Union

March 19, 2018

UNION, NJ – Students from all over Union County will be walking from Burnet Middle School to Town Hall on Saturday morning, March 24, in an anti-gun violence march.

Led by steering committee chairman Colin Sumner, the march, which has the support of Senator Joseph Cryan, Moms Demand Action, Union County Chapter, and the Union County Freeholders, is not aimed at taking away guns, but ...

Meet Scotch Plains Resident John McPartlan, Grand Marshal of the Union Co. St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sat, Mar. 10

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Meet John McPartlan, Scotch Plains resident and grand marshal of the Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade, which steps off promptly at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, 2018.

A native of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with roots in Co. Leitrim and Mayo, he attended Bishop Ford HS in Brooklyn and St. John’s University in Queens. He moved to New Jersey after ...

Mountain Biking in Watchung Reservation Revisited at Freeholders Meeting

ELIZABETH, NJ - Mountain biking in Watchung Reservation was revisited in the public comment session at the Union County Freeholders meeting on Thursday.  The board had voted not to approve building bike trails in May 2017 after a months-long debate.

Jamie Meiselman of Westfield, and co-leader of the Union County Chapter of the Jersey Off Road Bicycling Association (JORBA), raised the ...

Rummage Sale

March 11, 2018

UNION, NJ - A rummage sale is scheduled for Saturday, March 17, to benefit Union Abroad's Trip to Iceland.

The sale will be held at Union High School, 2350 N. Third Street, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Shoppers should enter through the "Rock" to Cafeteria A.


Man Dies from South Orange House Fire on Sunday

March 18, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - A man has died from a house fire on Warwick Avenue in South Orange on Sunday afternoon, stated Thomas Fennelly, Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor.

The fire, which began about 2 p.m. was contained by about 5 p.m., and required mutual aid from fire departments in neighboring towns, according to firefighters at the scene.

JCPL: 110,000 Without Power

SUMMIT, NJ – Two big storms in a week caused about 460,000 JCP&L customers to lose power.  The company restored power to about 320,000 that lost power during the first storm with 17,000 customers still waiting to have their power restored when this most recent second storm hit Wednesday.  The combination of the two storms has left the company with about 110,000 customers ...

Scotch Plains-Fanwood Native Will Climb Mount Everest, Raise Money for Childhood Cancer Research

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- When Hailey Rachko, a 2015 graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, sets her sights on something she aims high.

Now a junior at Boston University, Hailey plans to climb to the base camp of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, shortly after taking her final exams in May. She and 26 other students from across the country will spend nine days climbing up ...

Union County 4-H Club Reaches Out to Help after Hurricane Maria

March 18, 2018

Student members of the Union County 4-H Variety Club reached across local and state borders to help displaced pets earlier this year. Through their “4-H for our 4 Pawed Friends” community service project, they collected donations to help St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison after the organization sheltered more than 700 pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

A ...

Survey Examines Attitudes Towards St. Patrick’s Day, US-Ireland Relations

Lenox Consulting and Publitics partnered with EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin, to take a deeper look at the past, present and future of Ireland’s special relationship with America.  The museum, in conjunction with Steve Lenox of Lenox Consulting, a boutique public affairs firm with offices in the U.S. and Ireland and Matt Krayton of strategy and communications ...

Another Beautiful Job from Magnolia Home Remodeling Group

Magnolia Home Remodeling Group is a Home Remodeling and Home Improvement Contractor in New Jersey installing vinyl siding, roofing, windows, as well as kitchen, bathroom and basement remodeling.

According to the 2018 Cost vs Value Report, not only will homeowners enjoy the great work we do, they will recoup much of the value of the improvement at resale.  For ...

TUEF Raffle Ticket Sales

The Township of Union Education Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization whose purpose is to raise funds to sponsor innovative and educational programs in Union's public schools, is sponsoring a raffle.

The cost of a ticket is $5. The First Prize is a $500 gift card to Best Buy donated by Investors Bank. Second Prize is a "Gift Certificates Basket" containing gift ...



AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Valyrian Steel: Where is it All? Should We Still Care?

There is a glaring hole in recent Game of Thrones seasons that needs to be addressed: the ability of Valyrian steel to destroy White Walkers has not been acknowledged since before Jon Snow’s death.

In fact, it hasn’t been mentioned since the Season Five finale when Jon Snow reveals this discovery to Sam Tarly. Jon has cared about little more than the war between the living and ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Hillary Clinton to Speak at Rutgers on Mar 29 - Sign Up for Tickets on Mar 12

March 8, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Hillary Rodham Clinton will discuss American democracy and its institutions, her political career and her role in the women’s political movement during a public conversation March 29 hosted by the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, U.S. senator and presidential candidate, ...

Brown Faces Life in Brendan Tevlin Murder Case

NEWARK, NJ — In the case against Ali Muhammad Brown, who was charged with the murder of 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin of Livingston, acting Essex County prosecutor, Robert Laurino announced on Tuesday that Brown pled guilty before Hon. Ronald Wigler, judge of the Superior Court. 

Brown fatally shot Tevlin at a stop light in West Orange on June 2014 after the Seton Hall ...

Commemoration of Jay Kielwasser, Animal Control Officer

March 16, 2018

UNION, NJ – A commemoration of the late Jay Kielwasser's work as Union’s Animal Control Officer took place at Wednesday evening’s Board of Health meeting.

Board President Jackie Carter said Kielwasser, who passed away in April, was the first Animal Control officer appointed by the Board of Health. 

“You really don’t know how someone ...

Letters to the Editor

Proud to support Tom Malinowski for Congress

March 9, 2018

Every single day, whether I want to be or not, I am reminded how important it is that Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives in November and check Donald Trump. Fortunately, there is a terrific candidate in New Jersey's 7th Congressional District who can beat incumbent Leonard Lance. That candidate is Tom Malinowski.

I'm a lifelong New Jersey resident -- including ...