A new grant for police departments across New Jersey has been named after Detective Matthew L Tarentino of Summit, NJ. The “Detective Matthew L. Tarentino Community Policing Grant Program” will provide $10,000 individual grants to state, county, and municipal police departments, sheriff’s offices and college campus police departments. The grants are for innovative programs that will foster better police and community relations.
“Detective Tarentino was respected and beloved in his community because he embodied all of the best qualities of a police officer and role model,” said New Jersey Attorney General, Chris Porrino. “We hold Matthew up as a model of community policing and public service” (“New Jersey AG,” 2017, paragraph 4). It was Tarentino’s deep commitment to community outreach along with his compassion, selflessness, dedication and enthusiasm that led Porrino to create the grant program in Tarentino’s name.
Before losing his life in a motor vehicle accident on May 30, 2017, Detective Tarentino was instrumental in building strong relationships in the Summit community. His participation in the D.A.R.E. program helped Summit Police Department win the Attorney General’s Outstanding Community Policing Award in May. To commemorate Detective Tarentino’s badge #121, the Attorney General is making $121,000 in state forfeiture funds available for the program.
With the establishment of the Tarentino Grant Program, police agencies across New Jersey are being urged to bring their new ideas for community policing to the Attorney General’s office. Departments may apply for a grant either for a new program idea or to enhance an already existing one. Ideas designed to increase collaboration, trust and understanding between law enforcement and community are encouraged.
Meaningful public support and engagement can mean the difference between success and failure for police. Departments across New Jersey have already begun actively engaging the communities they serve with programs such as reading to kindergarteners, engaging with families to keep kids away from gangs, ride along programs for clergy, movie nights, ice cream, pizza, and coffee with a cop, basketball with teens and charity swim meets. Funds will be used to build up further community engagement in activities like picnics, concerts, town meetings, faith-based partnership events, cultural leadership programs, youth engagement empowerment programs and 5k races.
“In the end, the hallmark of a strong police force is mutual respect and trust between its officers and those they serve” (“New Jersey AG,” 2017, paragraph 5), says Director of the Division of Criminal Justice, Elie Honig. Alone, law enforcement can’t solve the problems communities face today. Only by engaging people in positive community relations building activities can police truly protect and serve the public.
For more information on this topic, please read “New Jersey AG Porrino Establishes Community Policing Grant in Name of Summit Detective Matthew Tarentino.”
New Jersey AG Porrino Establishes Community Policing Grant in Name of Summit Detective Matthew Tarentino. (2017, June 9). Tap into Summit. Retrieved from https://www.tapinto.net/towns/summit/sections/police-and-fire/articles/new-jersey-ag-porrino-establishes-community-polic