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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

November 2018 | Volume 11 | Issue 11

As the school resource officer at the Little Egg Harbor (New Jersey) Police Department, I am responsible for the protection of the school community. I believe that youth engagement extends into the community and not just my typical beat within the high school. When I was first assigned to the schools, I was not the most enthusiastic about the change. At the time, I would have rather worked midnights instead of the schools! However, since being assigned to schools and interacting with the student population every day, I have seen the importance of building relationships in a proactive approach. By building these relationships with youth, I am able to not only shape the way they view law enforcement, but also help to mold them into productive community members. In addition to seeing the youth in the schools, I also see them throughout town, including church on Sunday. This helps the youth to see us as human beings, rather than just robots. We are regular people with spouses and children and it opens their eyes to that fact.

I am also very involved with our Explorers and I do everything I can to ensure they are involved in township events. Whenever there is an event, we work to have our Explorers assisting. By having them participate in activities where they live, youth become invested in their community. A successful Explorers program involves diverse youth from varied backgrounds. If a young person feels invested in our town, then he or she will volunteer his or her time and create a successful program. Explorers that have a job or participate in school activities, including athletic programs, contribute to creating well-rounded individuals. Ultimately, a well-rounded youth will continue to participate with law enforcement, and in turn become closer to the community.

While working to build a large number of relationships within my community, the youth are a critical partner in building a strong community. This is the heart of community policing. Relationship building and communication are key to community policing and in turn, community policing is key to law enforcement. Our greatest responsibility is to demonstrate to the community the mantra “Lead by Example,” so we can all make our community a better place to live.

Sean Crotty, Sergeant
Little Egg Harbor (New Jersey) Police Department

Edited by Nazmia Comrie, Senior Program Specialist
COPS Office

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