TRENTON – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and social distancing measures remain in effect, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal recently announced a series of Virtual Town Hall Meetings that, despite the public health crisis, will provide an opportunity for continued community engagement with law enforcement.
The Attorney General’s 21 County, 21st Century Community Policing Project, “21/21” for short, is designed to sustain a continuum of public engagement with law enforcement in every county. On April 22, Attorney General Grewal hosted a session with over 400 participants on the availability of services for victims and survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second of the Virtual Town Hall Meetings is scheduled for Thursday, May 7, at 12 p.m. The session will focus on the availability of recovery and addiction services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina will serve as moderator and will be joined by New Jersey State Police Lieutenant Colonel Fritz Frage, NJ CARES Deputy Attorney General Kelly Levy, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Captain Hector Carter, Trisha Baum, a Certified Recovery Specialist and the Founder of Hand ‘n’ Heart and Robin Shorter, a Senior Director of Community Engagement with the Integrity House in Newark. The panelists will share their knowledge and experience with the range of recovery and addiction resources available to the public and provide information about how to best connect with those resources during this difficult time.
Anyone wishing to participate in Thursday’s virtual event can do so by registering here.
“Individuals struggling with addiction are especially vulnerable to feelings of anxiety and isolation during this public health crisis and we’re seeing the tragic results of this as reports of fatal overdoses increase nationwide,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “We must not let the social distancing measures in place hinder people’s ability to access help at a time when they need it most. We want to assure people that recovery resources are available to them during this stressful time and encourage them to reach out as soon, and as often, as they need it.”
Announced in April 2018, the Attorney General’s “21/21 Project” was conceived as a way to promote stronger police-community relations by bringing together law enforcement and community stakeholders in every county for face-to-face town hall meetings, roundtable discussions and other outreach events.
With social distancing measures in place and non-essential travel discouraged, however, such public gatherings are not possible.
In the midst of the pandemic, the planned Virtual Town Hall Meetings are both a way to maintain law enforcement-community engagement, and a means of addressing key COVID-related issues and public questions in real time. All sessions are recorded and translated into Spanish for our 21/21 archive. Click here for the victim’s resources video presentation and handout.
In addition to Thursday’s session, Attorney General Grewal will host Law Enforcement’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on Monday, May 11, at 4 p.m. He will be joined that day by Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, Marcus O. Hicks, Esq., Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Veronica Allende, Director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, Chief Chris Leusner, Chief of the Middle Township Police Department and President of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, Chief Nichelle D. Luster, Chief of the Union City Police Department and Pat Colligan, President of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association. Those wishing to participate in the May 11 Town Hall session can register here.
The Fraud and Bias Virtual Town Hall sessions will be held later in May, with scheduling and registration details to be announced in the near future.