Cumberland County to Hold Law Enforcement Community Engagement Series

CUMBERLAND COUNTY - Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae has announced that in 2016 a Cumberland County Law Enforcement Community Engagement Series will help bring law enforcement and the communities they serve closer together.
Webb-McRae and the chiefs of police from Bridgeton (Chief Michael Gaimari), Millville (Chief Jody Farabella), and Vineland (Chief Timothy Codispoti), as well as the Cumberland County Sheriff (Sheriff Robert Austino) came together to create an organized framework to encourage positive and meaningful discussions about local and national issues that effect both law enforcement and the community.
"With the advent of technology, it is important to educate the community about the business of law enforcement, why police officers do what they do and have a forum where the community can ask questions and raise concerns," said Webb-McRae.
Topics being suggested for discussion include:

  • Police Use of Force Investigations

  • Internal Affairs

  • Community Policing

  • Criminal Investigations and Target Investigative Strategies

  • Gangs, Guns, and Drugs

  • Critical Incidents

  • Media Relations

  • Law Enforcement Hiring Practices

  • Incarceration and Re-Entry

To prepare for the engagement series, Webb-McRae created a group called the Cumberland County Law Enforcement Advisory/Planning Board that started meeting in November 2015. The board is composed of law enforcement, civic community, business, and faith-based stakeholders. They meet every other month to arrange the community engagement series events.
"I wanted the board to understand that the Prosecutor's Office's role was to be a facilitator who was able to provide information, assemble speakers, and go in the direction the board saw fit," added Webb-McRae. "I am pleased that they have begun to take flight. I am confident that they will drive the discussion where it needs to go.
The first Community Engagement Series will be on January 13, 2016.
Future series will take place on:

  • March 9, 2016

  • May 11, 2106

  • July 13, 2016

  • September 14, 2016

  • November 9, 2016

Each series will take place at the Luciano Center at the Cumberland County College from 6 to 8 p.m.
The January 13 kick off will cover the use of force by police officers. This event will explore the different kinds of force that a police officer can use in the event of an interaction with the public and when force is appropriate. On March 9, the series will cover use-of-force investigations.
"I had anticipated that the January event would discuss use-of-force investigations, but the board felt that the public needed to understand the various types of force an officer could use before talking about investigations into whether force was justifiable as opposed to it being excessive or unlawful," said Webb-McRae.
For more information or to register for the series, visit

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