Over the years, we’ve asked police chiefs a question — and the answer is almost always the same. The question: what’s the most important unit in your department? The answer: Community-Oriented Policing Unit (or some variation of that name.)
Locally, we are fortunate to have departments that employ such units. Kearny’s COP Unit, under the command of Sgt. Adriano Marques, is extremely active. Marques has been given great responsibility by Chief George King.
Last year, the unit offered an interactive seminar for senior citizens to teach them to be aware of phone and online scams. The presentation was tremendous and well received by the town’s senior citizens.
They’ve also thrown warm-weather luncheons for the town’s senior citizens — at both senior housing buildings. They’re also responsible for providing a school-resource officer to Kearny High School. And they do so much more, too much to list.
So we give great thanks and praise to Marques and his cohorts Officers Vanessa Sevillano and Jack Grimm for their undertaking the vital responsibilities that come in a COP Unit.
Meanwhile, across the Passaic River in Belleville, we also recently reported about the return of that township’s bicycle unit. At first, some admitted — in the department and elsewhere — that they weren’t sure how well such a unit would do.
But it’s pretty clear to us that after about a year back in operation, Chief Mark Minichini made the right call brining that unit back.
Officers are much more visible when they’re on the bikes — and it’s much easier for residents to approach them when they’re not whizzing by in a radio car. Business owners say they appreciate seeing officers on bike patrol and they feel their establishments are better protected this way. And perhaps most notably, having officers on bikes is an excellent way for the community to get to know the women and men who protect them on a daily basis. It’s much easier to put names to faces.
And for the youngsters, of all ages, it’s perhaps one of the only ways for them to see cops in a positive setting. Let’s face it, far too often, the public deals with law enforcement in trying times, sometimes the worst of times. So to have regular contact between residents and police when things are going well is about as much as one could ask for.
So we take this time to also give thanks and praise to Minichini and the Belleville PD’s Bike Unit. Certainly, there are other examples of great COP units in our readership area, but these two have been within our grasps in the last month or so.
We give thanks to all who put on the uniform — or helmets as it were — to have engaging experiences with the public when things aren’t so bad. Bravo to all involved.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.