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AG Initiates Funds for Youth Community Policing Programs

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal

By Press Release

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced June 17 that the Attorney General’s Office is offering $165,000 in grants to police departments to fund innovative programs that will foster stronger police-community relations between police and young people across New Jersey. 

According to a release, police departments and nonprofit and community-based organizations are urged to submit competitive applications for individual grants of up to $16,500 to support programs that will bring together police officers and young members of the communities they serve for positive activities that will advance the critical goals of community policing. The grant program—called the “Bolstering Police-Youth Trust Program”—is being funded with federal funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. 

Funding decisions will be made to ensure the broadest and deepest statewide coverage practicable, taking into account the type of initiatives to be implemented and geographic distribution of the project. 

A fundamental principle of community policing is that police must interact with residents in positive, non-threatening settings, where they can be seen as community members and guardians of the community, rather than as an occupying force that always enters with lights and sirens activated. Also, to underscore the commitment to collaboration, the grant program requires law enforcement agencies and community groups to establish partnerships as a condition of receiving funding. 

“These grants represent a significant investment in our communities, in young people, and in public safety,” stated Grewal. “We need to have our young people—and indeed all of our residents—meet the dedicated officers of our police forces, not when the officers are making an arrest or responding to a tragedy, but in a more relaxed and positive atmosphere. That is how you build trust and relationships between police and the diverse communities they serve.” 

Eligible applicants include nonprofit and community-based organizations, and state, county, and municipal police departments in New Jersey, sheriffs’ offices, and college campus police departments. Applicants may propose to enhance or expand an already existing activity or program or develop a new initiative.  

Application packages are available on the Attorney General’s website here.  

The deadline for applications is Aug. 1. All funds must be spent during the 12-month period, from Oct. 1-Sept. 30, 2022. 

One of the first initiatives Grewal announced after taking office, in January 2018, was the 21-County, 21st Century Community Policing Project, or “21/21 Project,” which brings law enforcement and community stakeholders together in every county at least four times each year, for town halls, roundtable discussions, and other outreach events to address vital issues of mutual concern. 

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