The Hopewell Township Police Department has been recognized as an accredited police agency by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police through its New Jersey Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.
To achieve accreditation status, the department had to meet 105 standards set by the accreditation commission. All department policies and procedures, management, operations and services were reviewed by NJSACOP assessors.
NJSACOP accreditation program manager Harry Delgado presented a certificate of accreditation to Chief Lance Maloney and Sgt. Michael Cseremsak at the March 13 township committee meeting while fellow officers looked on. Cseremsak, the department’s accreditation manager, worked on the accreditation process for two years.
Accreditation status is valid for three years. The police department plans to submit annual reports to the commission showing that it remains compliant.
Body cameras deployed. On or about March 16, Hopewell Township police officers began utilizing body-worn cameras to record audio and visual interactions between police and citizens.
Patrol and traffic officers are wearing a WatchGuard Vista camera on their chest, on the outermost garment of their uniform. The cameras are black, about three inches long by two inches wide. Red lights on the cameras are illuminated when the devices are recording. They may be activated by emergency lights and sirens being engaged in the patrol car or manually by officers pushing record button on the cameras.
The cameras are seen as providing a means to preserve visual evidence and verbal statements assisting in the prosecution of court cases. Periodic review of body-worn camera footage by administrators would be meant to ensure quality control and assist in citizen complaint investigations.
Police say the body cameras will be used in compliance with the state attorney general’s guidelines. A portion of the cost of the cameras is being covered by a grant secured through the Mercer County prosecutor’s office and the New Jersey State attorney general’s office.