Building Relationships at the College of New Jersey with Community Policing
The College of New Jersey’s police chief explains the benefits of his department’s CLEAR unit.
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Community policing is a critical component of college campus law enforcement. When campuses embrace this type of approach, it enables their police departments to develop and maintain relationships with everyone on campus, especially with communities that historically have had challenging experiences with law enforcement.
Because of this, the College of New Jersey has implemented its Community Law Enforcement Affirmative Relations (CLEAR) Unit.
Grant explains that there is a growing need for community policing or CLEAR units on college campuses.
“We’re at a place in policing now where we need to build relationships, and New Jersey has the most diverse population in the country,” he says. “On college campuses, there is a growing population of non-traditional students, first generation students and we’ve had a spike in mental health concerns.”
The school’s CLEAR Unit helps the campus police department to more effectively communicate and work with with the wide variety of individuals on campus, including members of the African American, Muslim, Sikh, Asian, Latino and LGBTQ+ communities. Grant and his team have also added training on unconscious bias incidents, mental health first aid, suicide, resiliency, de-escalation and more.
Grant says service, respect and dignity are core values of his department.
“We are the community caregivers on campus,” he says. “Police officers have a heart for public service. With every applicant that I interview to be a police officer, we ask why they want to be in police work, and they all say the same thing: ‘I want to help people.’ And my answer is, ‘You came to the right place because that’s what we do here.’”
In his interview, Grant explains what CLEAR is and the overall results of his school’s community policing efforts.