Community Services Unit
About the Community Services Unit
History of the Unit
Actual crime, the perception of crime, and deteriorating property maintenance were found to be the primary concerns of West Orange residents. In 1999, Former Mayor John F. McKeon determined the only way to break the cycle of fear and declining properties was to strategically deploy the maximum number of police officers feasible in the center of the area of concern. This became the Community Services Unit (CSU).
Community Service Officers
The police officers assigned to the target area were given a narrow job definition. While assigned to a walking post and / or utilizing police mountain bikes, they were to provide traditional police services, such as arresting offenders, protection of individual rights, and maintaining a highly visible presence. They were additionally directed to interact with residents and business owners. These community services officers proactively solicit concerns and issues from residents and business owners. The CSU officer has become the people's representative in bringing the township's services to action on neighborhood problems. This same officer also provides the follow-up to insure that the concerns were remedied.
P/O Timothy Groves Community Substation
To maximize the effectiveness of the unit and to further stabilize the neighborhood, the Watchung Heights Police Substation was established. This was achieved by refurbishing a vacant 100-year-old firehouse that was already owned by the township.
To maximize the effectiveness of the unit and to further stabilize the neighborhood, the Valley Police Substation was established in 2015. This was achieved by refurbishing a abandoned gas station. This substation will house Community Services Officers, the WOPD Traffic Bureau and the WOPD motorcycle officers.
One of the primary goals of the CSU is to create a positive impact on the youths of the neighborhood. These young people are our future residents and local leaders. The CSU has provided numerous police supervised youth activities, such as the Confidence, Achievement, and Mentoring Program (C.A.M.P.). These programs are intended to provide our youth with a level of self confidence, team-building skills, and opportunities to participate in structured excursions outside of the township. Additionally, every summer the CSU, Juvenile Aid Bureau and in conjunction with the West Orange Board of Education, conduct a Junior Police Academy for Township children ages 11-14 in efforts to promote responsible citizenship.