Law Enforcement and Community Leaders Meet to Discuss Mutual Concerns, Promising Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes

Community leaders and law enforcement gathered for a rare roundtable meeting on June 6th at the New Jersey State Police Headquarters in Totowa, a golden opportunity to discuss shared concerns in light of a recent wave of hate crimes and bias incidents that have raised serious security issues, both in New Jersey and nationwide.

Major Michael Devlin of NJSP’s Troop B delivered opening remarks followed by NJSP Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes who addressed security matters that reflect community concerns and welcomed over 100 participants, including leaders of all faiths and law enforcement personnel on the federal and state levels. They discussed various aspects of cultural awareness and the importance of continuing collaborations between faith-based communities and law enforcement as an effective crime fighting tool. Representatives of the Attorney General’s office and several law enforcement agencies assured community leaders that there will be a zero tolerance policy on all hate crimes. The event also included an informative video on community policing, remarks by Acting Director Jared Maples of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness on bias crimes and additional presentations by the Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Marshal’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the United States Postal Service Inspection Service.

A special presentation honored Colonel Fuentes and Superintendent Michael Fedorko of the Port Authority Police Department for their extraordinary accomplishments.

Several dozen members of law enforcement on both the federal and local levels attended the meeting including Timothy Gallagher, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI’s Newark offices, Captain Brian Polite of the NJSP Office of Public Affairs, Lieutenant John Paige of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Deputy Chief of Detectives Weldon A. Powell of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Director Thomas Carter of the TSA’s Newark offices, Port Director Ed Fox of the Port Authority, U.S. Marshal Juan Matos,  Special Agent in Charge Carl Kotluski of the Drug Enforcement Agency, a representative of the United States Postal Inspection Service, Chief Greg Meyer of the Lakewood Police Department, representatives of the Ocean, Passaic, Hudson and Bergen County Prosecutor’s Offices, Meir Lichtenstein of the Lakewood Township Committee, Sheriff’s chaplain Joel Friedman and NJSP chaplain Yossi Hershkowitz. Also present were many faith based community leaders representing houses of worships of all denominations throughout northern and central New Jersey.

Several dozen members of law enforcement on both the federal and local levels attended the meeting including Timothy Gallagher, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI’s Newark offices, Captain Brian Polite of the NJSP Office of Public Affairs, Lieutenant John Paige of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, Deputy Chief of Detectives Weldon A. Powell of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Director Thomas Carter of the TSA’s Newark offices, Port Director Ed Fox of the Port Authority, U.S. Marshal Juan Matos,  Special Agent in Charge Carl Kotluski of the Drug Enforcement Agency, a representative of the United States Postal Inspection Service, Chief Greg Meyer of the Lakewood Police Department, representatives of the Ocean, Passaic, Hudson and Bergen County Prosecutor’s Offices, Meir Lichtenstein of the Lakewood Township Committee, Sheriff’s chaplain Joel Friedman and NJSP chaplain Yossi Hershkowitz. Also present were many faith based community leaders representing houses of worships of all denominations throughout northern and central New Jersey.

Captain Brian Polite of the NJSP Office of Public Affairs took advantage of the opportunity to thank the many chaplains in attendance for their continued efforts.

“You are there for us, through good times and bad,” said Captain Polite.  “Members of law enforcement should realize that working with community leaders not only enhances local security but also allows troopers and members of law enforcement to have the benefit of getting support from the community leaders and chaplains in times of crisis.”

Prominent Jewish community leader and New Jersey State Police chaplain Rabbi Abe Friedman praised representatives of both the government and law enforcement for their continued efforts on behalf of the state’s many interfaith communities.

“Over the years, relationships between community leaders and law enforcement have become stronger and stronger,” said Rabbi Friedman.  “I congratulate Superintendents Fuentes and Federko on these well deserved awards for their outstanding working relationship between their agencies and the community.”

Photos courtesy of JDN

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