Welcome to the 2020’s.
The Mount Olive Township Police Department embraces the concepts of Community Policing and Data Driven Intelligence in addressing public safety issues, and these concepts are behind the bulk of our continued and new initiatives.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) has recently published “Law Enforcement Best Practices; Lessons Learned from the Field”. You can view the report from the following link: https://cops.usdoj.gov/RIC/Publications/cops-w0875-pub.pdf
The DOJ COPS Office advocates for a Community Policing approach for police agencies. Their report focuses on what they consider seven key aspects to Community Policing: de-escalation; crisis intervention; first line supervisors; early intervention systems; internal affairs; recruitment, hiring and promotion; and data systems.
The Community-Law Enforcement Affirmative Relations (CLEAR) Continuing Education Institute was initiated in 2016 under Attorney General Porrino; and continues under the watch of Attorney General Grewal. It is intended to help bridge the gap between communities and law enforcement. To date, training topics have included de-escalation techniques; cultural awareness; implicit bias; and sexual assault crimes and victim impact. All officers in the state must complete CLEAR training on an annual basis. In addition to the Attorney General required training, Mount Olive Officers annually receive supplemental training that has a bearing on de-escalation and crisis intervention. Mount Olive officers utilize the training available through the Morris, Union, Somerset, and Monmouth Police Academies; the Morris County Police Chiefs Association; the Morris County Sherriff’s Office; the New Jersey State Police; and the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. The Mount Olive Police Department’s training function is in the Support Services Division under the command of Lieutenant Philip Lucivero.
First Line Supervisors are important to Community Policing because they are the ranking officers at the point of contact and delivery of services to our community, businesses and those who visit. The Mount Olive Police Department’s First Line Supervisors consist of Sergeants. In the absence of the Sergeant, the First line Supervisors are the Corporals. First Line Supervisors communicate job expectations to our police officers and provide feedback on performance. They are an integral part of Mount Olive’s Community Policing as they turn concept and vision into action. Sergeants and Corporals are in each Division of the Police Department.
In 2018, the Attorney General of New Jersey issued a Directive establishing a statewide policy requiring all law enforcement agencies to establish early warning systems. The intent is to address problems before they become major issues and gain or maintain the community trust. The Mount Olive Police Department utilizes the “Guardian Tracking Software” to track and review incidents. The following categories are tracked on all Officers of the Mount Olive Police Department: Internal Affairs complaints, whether issued by another officer or civilian; civil actions against officers; criminal investigations and/or complaints against officers; any use of force determined to be excessive, unjustified, or unreasonable; domestic violence in which an officer is an alleged subject; an arrest of an officer; vehicular collisions determined to have been the fault of the officer; a positive drug test by the officer; cases brought to court by officers that are dismissed; cases brought to court by an officer where evidence is suppressed; insubordination by an officer; neglect of duty by an officer; unexcused absences by the officer; and any other indicators the Chief of Police may deem appropriate. Any of these instances, in and of themselves, may involve notification to the Morris County Prosecutors Office (MCPO) Professional Standards Unit. But, any three (3) instances within a twelve (12) month period necessitate an early warning review at the MCPO. In addition to the Early Warning System, Mount Olive staff officers (Lieutenants, Captain and Chief) conduct reviews of all bias, use of force, pursuit, and police crash incidents; consistent with the accreditation standards established by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. In addition to the Early Warning System that was mandated in 2018 by the Attorney General; random drug testing of police officers, post academy, was required. Ten percent (10%) of the Mount Olive Police Officers must be randomly drug screened twice annually. Officers have never been more scrutinized in New Jersey. High expectations are set to gain or maintain the community trust. The Internal Affairs function in the Mount Olive Police Department is the supervising unit that tracks all of this and reports to me regularly on any flagged incidents or issues. That function is currently held by Detective Lieutenant Luis Sanchez.
The quality of our officers determines the quality of service the community receives. The Mount Olive Police Department considers its most critical task to be recruiting and hiring the best possible Police and Communications Officers to deliver those services; and once hired, to hold those officers to a high standard and to train them well. The Selection and Recruitment Coordinator is Captain Michael Spitzer.
When police recruits test; they take a written examination administered by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. The top fifty percent (50%) move on to the Physical Assessment. All candidates must be cleared by a medical doctor at their choosing and expense, to participate in the assessment. The physical assessment includes a 1.5 mile run; 300 meter run; pushups; sit ups; vertical leap; and bench press. The top fifty percent of the physical assessment move on to the interview portion. On their assigned date for interviews, recruits attend a Pre-Objective Employment Interview. During this process, interviewing officers determine if there are any issues which disqualify the applicant for hire. Should the recruit receive a pass, they next attend a seven officer Panel Interview. Once all recruits are interviewed, the Panel ranks the top ten recruits. I then interview three candidates; per ranking, for each available position and make a recommendation for hire to the Mayor. Mayor Greenbaum has recently approved the appointment of John Simonetti and Anthony LaManna as recruit officers. They will attend the 92nd Basic Police Class from January 14, 2020 until May 30, 2020. Should they graduate, they will then enter the Mount Olive Police Departments Field Training Program for three (3) months. During that time they must successfully meet (597) training objectives. All of the officers presently on our police department have all gone through this arduous process. The Promotion Processes for each rank within the Mount Olive Police Department (Sergeant-Lieutenant-Captain) are challenging as well. The Patrol Commander is presently Lt. Craig Austenberg.
For Communications Officers all candidates must take Criticall Testing. Criticall is a software program that tests decision making while taking simulated phone calls and radio communication; dispatching simulated officers, and record entry. Following Criticall, the candidates appear before a Panel of Communications Officers and Police. This is followed by an interview with a Sergeant and the Commander of the Communications and Records Division. The Communications and Records Commander then recommends a candidate for hire. This candidate is then recommended to the Mayor for appointment. If the candidate is approved for hire, the Communications Officer must complete eighty (80) hours of Emergency Medial Dispatch and 911 Training; and then four hundred (400) hours of training at the Communications desk. During that time, Communications Officers must successfully meet (331) training objectives. The goal being to provide an exceptional workforce to deliver the highest level of police services to the community. The Communications and Records Division Commander is Lt. Michael Cordileone.
The last key aspect to a successful community policing police department is data systems, leveraging technology to provide for greater efficiency and capabilities. All front line patrol cars have in car computers and digital video cameras; automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) are in two (2) patrol cars; officers have computers at their headquarters workstations, a Laboratory Information Management System called the Bar Coded Evidence Analysis Statistical Tracking (B.E.A.S.T.) system tracks our evidence; and the Enforsys System for report writing, record keeping and data. Mount Olive utilizes Twitter, and Facebook accounts to communicate with our community and we maintain a web page. The Mount Olive Police Department has a partnership with Ring that allows the police department access to the Neighbors Portal of the Ring Neighbors app that civilians can opt into. Police can share information with those on the app and vice versa at no cost. The police department has a Memorandum of Understanding Agreement with CarFax for access to their database and is another avenue by which civilians can request accident reports. Mount Olive also has a Memorandum of Understanding with Business Watch International that allows us to track precious metals and second hand goods that are sold in or out of town.
The Mount Olive Police Department includes all seven (7) key elements in our Community Policing and endeavors to continue to following federal and state law enforcement best practices in our mission to provide our community with the best possible police service.
Chief of Police