MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Middlesex County Freeholder Mildred S. Scott announced Monday that $110,000 in grants have been awarded to 21 municipal police departments and to the Rutgers University police to develop educational and prevention programs to combat bias crimes.
Each department received a $5,000 Bias Prevention and Education Grant to help enforce bias crime laws and keep the public informed of ways to recognize and report bias incidents.
“One of the goals of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has always been to ensure the quality of life for all citizens of Middlesex County,” Kaplan said. “These funds will continue that goal, by helping to promote a strong bond between the police and the community.”
“This grant gives law enforcement another tool in protecting all our residents against bias crime and in keeping our communities safe,” said Scott, chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee.
Monroe Chief John J. Kraivec, who is also president of the Middlesex County Association of Chiefs of Police, said: “Biased crimes and incidents are major issues for all police agencies because of their unique impact on victims as well as the community. This grant will allow law enforcement officers in Middlesex County to meet with community leaders and place additional officers on patrol to help prevent these crimes.”
The grants were awarded by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office after the police departments submitted applications detailing how they will use the funds, which will be made available from money seized by law enforcement from criminal defendants who had obtained proceeds through illegal activities, such as selling drugs.
The police departments plan to use the funds to increase police patrols of neighborhoods, religious schools and places of worship that may potentially be targeted for bias crimes through vandalism, harassment or physical assault.
Based on communications with community leaders about their concerns, the departments will provide and promote programming that teaches tolerance or educates the community on New Jersey’s bias statues, as well as the public’s rights and responsibilities.
Some of the police departments have already begun increasing patrols during religious and ethnic holidays and holy days.
In addition to the Rutgers University Police Department, grants have been approved for police in Carteret, Dunellen, East Brunswick, Edison, Highland Park, Metuchen, Middlesex Borough, Monroe, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Plainsboro, Sayreville, South Amboy, South Brunswick, South Plainfield, South River, Spotswood and Woodbridge.
Funds from the grant can only be used for costs related directly to bias prevention and education, and cannot be used to supplant existing patrols or equipment.
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