Communication is key to community policing, says Stafford PC
Communication is a key facet of almost every aspect of our daily lives with everything we do professionally, at home, with family, with friends, etc.
When you know what’s going on, you understand better, and it goes both ways.
It may sound like a negative connotation, but this method could also be for good things.
With so many laws and appeals against the police in our state and society, there also needs to be more communication and listening, not just hearing what is being said – listening and acting on it.
As part of his newly appointed role as president of the New Jersey State Association of Police Chiefs, Stafford Township Police Chief Tom Dellane is working to make improvements to general public and community safety and much more.
Chief Dellane was a Sunday morning guest on “Shore Time with Vin and Dave” on 94.3 The Point and 105.7 The Hawk to discuss many topics and challenges facing policing in our state and society.
“As president for the coming year, I am the face of the organization, so I represent the organization at various events. For example, a few weeks ago when Governor Murphy signed into law the draft police licensing law, our association was invited to attend and I represented the association on this,” Chief Dellane told Townsquare Media. “My role is primarily to advocate for the retention of the order and to defend the interest of our association with the variety of organizations and interested groups throughout the State.”
It also means communicating with state legislators and the attorney general’s office.
“I communicate regularly with the Attorney General’s office, a variety of people in that office, so a lot of the proposed legislation that comes before them, we have dialogues about implementation, about the concerns of the association , on the points that people may not have considered – there are several aspects and things that you have to consider with any legislation, any regulation, “said Dellane. “New Jersey is a bit unique in the united states in that the attorney general of new jersey is the most powerful attorney general in the united states and when i say that our constitution makes the attorney general the chief law enforcement officer of the state . and every police department below that is subject to their direction.”
So far, since being named acting New Jersey attorney general, Matthew Platkin has been open-minded to hearing police concerns.
“I think he was very receptive to that – shortly after taking office he convened a roundtable on motor vehicle prosecutions. The former attorney general had revised the guidelines on motor vehicle prosecutions. car by the police to exclude a number of crimes that we used to be able to prosecute and prohibit that, if you want, so one of them is chasing stolen vehicles,” said Dellane. “There’s been an explosion in this state of auto theft, so surely after he (Platkin) walked into that roundtable, he revised the prosecution guidelines to, once again, allowing police pursuits and that has already borne some fruit of success.”
Motor vehicle thefts and car burglaries have become a huge problem in Ocean County, Monmouth County and throughout the State of New Jersey for a variety of reasons, including the impact of changes in the law on bail reforms enacted by the Murphy administration and the Attorney General’s office in 2018.
“I think the biggest concern is that people when we make an arrest and we make an apprehension, it’s not like it’s the person’s first time. We call it ‘Catch and Release” so we’re arresting the same people over and over and over all over the state. They go to jail for a few days and then they get paroled pending their case and they’re back in business two, three, four days later,” Dellane said. “That’s the one, biggest problem — there’s no deterrent, there’s no consequences, so criminals become more and more cheeky every day.”
Bail reform, on the whole, has worked in some ways, but there seems to be more of a problem with those who reoffend and commit additional crimes — right away.
“Anytime you have a change they are going to have unintended consequences and I think the intention of Bail Reform was noble and I agree with the concept so now I think we are in the weeds really fleshing out some of the areas that need to be revisited and having another conversation about that,” Dellane said. “I think what’s happening with Bail Reform – if you’re arrested for a crime, and you are released and you are not committing another crime, then Bail Reform serves its purpose, you do not deserve to be incarcerated while you wait for your charges to be resolved, however, if you are arrested multiple times within a short period of time of time, and — from experience, in one of the car thefts, it was actually a carjacking that we had (in Stafford), the subject was a minor who had 8 criminal charges pending against him and had several arrest warrants against him and was still released – it’s not the system that works, it’s not law enforcement that fails, it’s the system that fails the community. When we weren’t allowed to sue, that word comes out very quickly, and then you lose the deterrent offense, there’s no deterrence, and once you lose that, things start to go downhill from the.
Outside of bail reform and the other topics discussed so far, police and law enforcement face great challenges in our state and beyond.
“I think policing in general in the United States over the last few years has become more difficult. I think society, for some reason, has become more suspicious and not just of law enforcement. order, I think it’s in all areas – I mentioned, in the past, I think civility is lacking, we’re not as nice to people as we used to be, so I think people are more inclined to engage in confrontation,” Dellane said. “When I first came to law enforcement 36 years ago, if that happened, an altercation, some kind of situation where people fight, usually once a uniformed police officer arrived on the scene , people were calming down, I don’t think that’s the case anymore, I think people are more inclined to express their anger towards police officers, and, as police officers, we are trained in de-escalation, we are trained to take on certain levels of hostility towards us, and, we’re trained to deal with that, but, we see it’s increased dramatically, so I think to win that back — it’s weird, in that sense , if you look at the poll numbers, the public’s perception and confidence in law enforcement has never been better since they started voting, but at the same time there’s this feeling under underlying mistrust and lack of transparency As a police officer, I try to to balance that and try to meet regularly with our community groups and we try to be as transparent as possible ible, but the reality is that the very nature of investigating criminal activity does not allow you to be transparent without sometimes compromise the integrity of your investigation. Transparency can come later, but people want what they want when they want it, and we, unfortunately, can’t always provide that.”