WEST ORANGE, NJ — In an effort to continue building strong relationships between West Orange residents and the local law enforcement, the West Orange Police Department (WOPD) Community Services Unit hosted its third annual Coffee with a Cop event at the Northfield Avenue Dunkin Donuts on Oct. 7.
Sgt. Pat Matullo, who participated in his first Coffee with a Cop on Friday, said this event is held in a different location around town each year. Lt. Kevin Bolen, who heads the Community Services Unit with Sgt. Matullo and CSU officer Brad Squires were also on hand to interact with the community throughout the morning. Attendees even had a quick surprise visit from Detective Fitzgerald Figliuolo of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo.
“I’ve been having very good conversations with residents,” said Matullo. “We get asked a lot of questions about anything neighborhood related and really about getting information out in the community.”
Michelle Gabrielle Caldwell, a West Orange resident, attended coffee with a cop for the first time to address something that happened with other residents in her neighborhood.
“[I also came] to get some tips on how to make life a little bit easier for all of us in these kind of weird times,” she said. “So that was really one of my main reasons for coming. Dt. Brad Squires really gave us some great tips to dealing with some neighborhood issues.”
The WOPD Community Services Unit, which is consisted of police officers assigned to patrol the target areas of concern, was initially created with the intention of breaking the cycle of fear and declining properties in West Orange. In addition to walking post and/or utilizing police mountain bikes, these officers also provide traditional police services, such as arresting offenders, protection of individual rights and maintaining a highly visible presence.
A major part of these particular officers’ job description is to interact with residents and business owners, as they did with this event, and proactively solicit concerns and issues from residents and business owners.
“The CSU officer has become the people’s representative in bringing the township’s services to action on neighborhood problems,” the CSU officer description states. “This same officer also provides the follow-up to insure that the concerns were remedied.”
One of the primary goals of the CSU is also to create a positive impact on the youths of the neighborhood.
For more information on the Community Services Unit, visit the town website HERE.