Middlesex County Program Offers First Criminal Justice Orientation Presentations

MIDDLESEX COUNTY — The Middlesex County Outreach and Education Unit, or MORE Unit, will be offering a program introducing the criminal justice system to members of the community in an effort to teach them how the system works and their rights under the law.

“Educating the public on this topic is essential if we expect our community to trust, believe and participate in our criminal justice system,”Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan said.

The first in a series of presentations is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Edison Job Corps Academy on Plainfield Road in Edison, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The presentation will be made by Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Cindy Glaser and Reginald Johnson, president of the Metuchen-Edison Branch of the NAACP. He has been hired by the prosecutor’s office to assist in the criminal justice presentations.

“Many people have their first introduction to law enforcement through municipal court, and I think it is very important that we are able to deal with their perception, not only of law enforcement, but also the courts,” Mr. Johnson said.

“This program will walk them through how the system works and, hopefully, will provide them with understanding, not only as to what is expected of them, but what rights they do have,” Johnson said.

“As the chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee, I would like to thank Prosecutor Kaplan and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for making educational programs such as this available to all of our municipalities because I believe they go a long way in helping to protect and serve our residents,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios.

Since 2002, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has devoted significant resources and personnel to community outreach and education through the MORE Unit.

The unit has made hundreds of presentations at schools, community centers and senior centers on such timely and important topics as gangs, bullying, internet safety, and scams.

“The MORE Unit addresses those community issues that impact our residents’ safety and quality of life,” said Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano. “I am pleased the prosecutor’s office is expanding its offerings.”

Johnson, who has helped design and administer the criminal justice orientation program for the MORE Unit, has dedicated much of his adult life to community outreach and has an extensive record of involvement and achievements related to public affairs and community relations.

In his capacity as president of the Metuchen-Edison Branch of the NAACP, as well as his past association with various community commissions and boards, he has proved himself to have the skills to serve as a vital link between the community, law enforcement and other public sector organizations, communicating concerns and working as a mediator to address those concerns.

In addition, he serves as chairman of the Vicinage Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns for the Superior Court in Middlesex County.

He previously has been employed by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and has provided outreach services between law enforcement and the residents of the City of Plainfield.

The new MORE Unit program will be available for presentation to any interested group or organization. Interested parties should contact Nicole Ducca at the MORE Unit at 1-732-225-0750, extension 6, or nicole.ducca@co.middlesex.nj.us.

The federally-funded Job Corps Academy offers work skills training in such fields as carpentry, business technology and nursing to economically disadvantaged students between the ages of 16 and 24. Currently, 536 students are enrolled in the program.

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