N.J. police, religious leaders huddle on reducing crime



More than 300 law enforcement officials and faith-based leaders met in Trenton Tuesday to discuss how to reduce crime in New Jersey and strengthen police-community relations.

Gary Holden, the founder and CEO of the police chaplain program of New Jersey, said clergy may have a role in preventing tragedies.

“When there’s domestic disputes, when there’s deaths, we try to be very proactive helping those families and being there for them,” Holden said. “And then working with the youth, having programs for the youth, and recognizing the at-risk kids and young people that need help.

“Hopefully way along the way, that will help someone from doing something like what we saw in Orlando.”

Acting Attorney General Robert Loughy said open communication can encourage faith-based leaders to report signs of radicalization.

Denville Police Chief Christopher Wagner, the president of the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police, said every police department is mindful of the possibility of lone-wolf terrorist attacks.

“There are constantly new trainings for when we see a new type of a violent extremist, to be able handle those types of things, but from a police perspective it’s difficult,” Wagner said. “And it’s unfortunate that none of us can rest thinking that it might not happen to us. We all realize we’re just one bad phone call away from something like that.”

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