2024 Excellence in Policing Awards Given To Lakewood Police, Ocean County Prosecutor

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced the winners of the 2024 Excellence in Policing Awards. These awards recognize the exceptional service and dedication exhibited by law enforcement agencies, officers, and professionals across New Jersey.

The Excellence in Policing Awards were established in 2019 to promote and strengthen relationships between law enforcement agencies and their communities.

“Hate Has No Home in Ocean County” Initiative by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office

During Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer’s tenure, the Office has been dedicated to fighting against hate crimes, guided by the “Hate Has No Home in Ocean County” message. Notable cases include the prosecution of Dion Marsh, who pleaded guilty to violent acts meant to terrorize the Jewish community. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has also designed a systematic approach to reduce hate crimes by collaborating with law enforcement and community leaders to educate young people. Additionally, the Office partnered with the Youth Services Commission to offer Challenge Day to every high school in the County. This workshop on empathy awareness and community building helps identify issues related to bullying, which, in extreme cases, can lead to criminal conduct.

The Outstanding Community Partnership Award honors a county prosecutor’s office or police department that has implemented or strengthened a community partnership or collaboration with community stakeholders to advance public safety.

Lakewood Police Department’s Lakewood Community Coalition

The Lakewood Police Department’s Lakewood Community Coalition was formed in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Under the direction of Police Chief Gregory Meyer, Captain Steve Allaire was assigned to be the coordinator of the Lakewood Community Coalition. The Coalition is open to all members of the Lakewood community and aims to facilitate open communication between the public and community officials. These officials include Chief Meyer, Mayor Raymond Coles, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, Superintendent of Schools Laura Winters, business owners, Lakewood Township administrators, and many others. The Coalition provides a platform for community members to discuss their concerns before they escalate into significant issues. It also fosters trust and positive relationships within the community, enabling the productive resolution of problems. This collaborative approach has contributed to the growth and success of Lakewood.

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