Numerous media outlets report on the relaunch of the Newark Police Foundation, chaired by Christopher Porrino, the 60th Attorney General of New Jersey and Chair of Lowenstein’s Litigation Department. Porrino announced the foundation’s Cops and Kids Community Policing Contest, which will award grants to Newark police precincts for developing a sustainable community policing program aimed at youth engagement, at a barbecue attended by Newark students; Newark Police (with motorcycles, horses, and a police helicopter); Newark Mayor Ras Baraka; Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara; Attorney General Gurbir Grewal; and Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Rachael Honig.
In NJBIZ, Porrino says, “The time to build relationships in communities is not when you have a crisis. ... It’s too late then. The relationships have to be built way in advance, and our point in jumpstarting this effort and holding this event is the place to start is really with kids.”
In coverage of the event by NBC New York, he adds: “Trust is absolutely vital. When trust is lacking, that’s when bad things happen.”
In NJ.com, he continues: “There’s lots of very smart lawmakers in Washington, D.C. and Trenton who are looking to change the law. That’s great and that’s fine. That creates a better environment for trust. But you can’t create trust unless you’re out face-to-face.”
In ROI-NJ, Porrino states: “This is a nuts-and-bolts approach to building trust from the ground up. It’s about reaching kids before they get to the point where they have serious mistrust of law enforcement. And the way you build trust is by engaging with each other, getting to know one another and learning to trust one another.”
He hopes that the foundation will inspire other cities to launch similar initiatives. “This kind of an effort can have tremendous impact,” Porrino tells NJBIZ. “Now is the time.” He also believes that Newark is the right place, noting that the city’s peaceful protests this past summer “didn’t happen by accident. The reason why, in my judgment, the protests were peaceful was because there was already a foundation of trust and engagement on the part of law enforcement in Newark and the community and also terrific engagement on the part of the mayor’s office.”
The event was also covered by WBGO.