Community-Oriented Policing: The AmeriCorps Safer Communities Initiative.

CRCC Community Oriented Policing Events

Learn more about the CRCC’s ongoing commitment to improving relationships between law enforcement and communities.


NJTV News Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron reported on the Homeland Security Interfaith Advisory Council Meeting at Drew University

“Many denominations are represented,” Aron wrote, “as is law enforcement. Participants say it’s valuable.”

Watch NJTV video and read Aron’s complete article “Togetherness Prominent at Homeland Security Interfaith Council Meeting” here.


Distinguished panelists included Jonathan Parham, Chief of Police, Linden Police Department, Bernard Kerik, Former NYC Police Commissioner, and Tommy Tunson, PhD., J.D., Former Police Chief addressed police and community relationships.

Radical Redemption: Confronting Fear and Hatred in the Wake of Tragedy. The Shirley Sugerman Interfaith Forum, March 2017

Serve 2 Unite founder Pardeep Kaleka, son of slain Oak Creek WI Sikh temple president, and Arno Michaelis, Serve 2 Unite educator and former white supremacist, spoke frankly about forgiveness, redemption, and efforts to reach students nationwide with their message of overcoming hatred.

Know Your Rights: Navigating Civil Liberties and Security” with Ehsan Zaffar, February 2017

Ehsan Zaffar is an expert on civil rights and civil liberties, especially with regard to balancing these rights and liberties with national security concerns.

AmeriCorps Safer Communities Grant

Drew University received an operating support grant from AmeriCorps NJ, a division of the New Jersey Department of State.

The two-year AmeriCorps grant, administered by Drew University’s Center on Religion, Culture, and Conflict and operating in partnership with law enforcement agencies the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, aimed to support ongoing efforts to improve law enforcement and community relations in the state of New Jersey.

AmeriCorps members played a vital role in the planning and execution of initiatives and activities that will address the culture of distrust between the community and law enforcement across the state.

About AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 men and women in committed service each year at more than 21,000 locations including nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community groups across the country.

AmeriCorps members are preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs, reducing crime and reviving cities, connecting returning veterans to jobs, fighting the opioid epidemic, supporting seniors to live independently and with dignity, making college more accessible and affordable, and helping Americans rebuild their lives following a disaster, all while adding unique value to the nation’s nonprofit sector.

Through their service, AmeriCorps members gain valuable skills, along with quantifiable professional and educational benefits, and the experience has a lasting impact on the members and the communities they serve.

AmeriCorps programs do more than move communities forward; they serve their members by creating jobs and providing pathways to opportunity for young people entering the workforce. AmeriCorps places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop an appreciation for citizenship.

AmeriCorps members serving through the AmeriCorps Network (AmeriCorps State and National) funded programs serve with local and national organizations to address critical community needs related to disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and in support of veterans and military families.

Safer Communities AmeriCorps Initiative Grant Partners: Drew University

The Drew University Community Policing Initiative was a comprehensive AmeriCorps program designed to improve police and community relations by promoting greater understanding, communication, and positive interaction between them.

The Community Oriented Policing Project Conflict Resolution and De-escalation Training AmeriCorps member service activity focused on helping police better understand the communities they serve.

One AmeriCorps members’ project goal was public education, to avoid situations that may escalate to danger and violence towards the police and motorist.

AmeriCorps members aimed to assist in the training of police officers, community leaders, and youth in conflict resolution and de-escalation training; analyze data on program effectiveness and participate in programs to build positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Under the supervision of Jonathan Golden, Director of the CRCC, part-time AmeriCorps members participated in training local police, community members, and at-risk youth in conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques, and planned community-building activities, modeled after the successful national Youth Police Initiative program (YPI).

New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness

The Inter-Religious Engagement and Cooperation AmeriCorps service opportunity was designed to offer members the opportunity to play a vital role in the planning and execution of projects that create a forum where law enforcement, public officials, government agencies, grassroots community organizers, leaders of faith communities, educators, parents, and youth can come together to share their ideas and concerns with one another, while engaging in social activities and sustainable partnerships designed to bring police and public together in dialogue.

AmeriCorps members assigned to the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) located in Hamilton, New Jersey, and work with the NJOHSP’s Interfaith Advisory Council, which brings together government agencies and the interfaith communities in the State to discuss topics to establish trust and build safer, more secure communities.

NJ Office of the Attorney General

The Police-Community Trust, Understanding and Cooperation

AmeriCorps members assigned to serve with the NJ Office of the Attorney General, in a collaborative effort with the Office of Community Justice and the Division of Criminal Justice (Prosecutors Supervision & Training Bureau), assisted with the planning and execution of activities and events that aimed to strengthen law enforcement and community relationships on a statewide basis. Members used social media and online skills to assist in creating online resources for law enforcement as well as engaged in community relations surveying member of the public about law enforcement.

Contact: David S. Leonardis, Training and Outreach Liaison

New Jersey Office of the Attorney General | Division of Criminal Justice | Prosecutors Supervision & Training Bureau

Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex | 25 Market St, Trenton, NJ 08611-2148 | LeonardisD@njdcj.org

Featured AmeriCorps Program Events

Raphael Ortiz and Julia Torres addressed AmeriCorps members at Drew University, December 2017

Patrick Rigby Honored by Peace Islands Institute at their 2017 Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner

CONFLICT RESOLUTION (CR) AND DE-ESCALATION TRAINING for Law Enforcement Officers, Community Leaders, and At-Risk Youth facilitated by AmeriCorps members

TRAFFIC STOP AWARENESS to reduce arrests and violence at traffic stops through training videos

AmeriCorps: Measuring Our Impact



“Citizens of NJ were surveyed to test their knowledge of best practices on motor vehicle stops to help determine the need for motorist education. The survey itself was also analyzed and critiqued for potential changes beyond this study prior to further widespread use and data collection.”– New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service, New Jersey Department of State

Read the article here.

Take our Traffic Stop Awareness Survey.

Read more about the need for public education in traffic stop behavior in our planning grant survey analysis at nj.gov. Learn more about the NJ Office of the Attorney General’s “Safe Stop” traffic education initiative here.


AmeriCorps members will facilitate training sessions in conflict resolution training for law enforcement officers and community members.



POLICE-COMMUNITY TRUST/YOUTH POLICE INITIATIVE builds on Jim Isenberg’s YPI Model and works for safer communities through increased familiarity and trust between youth, community, and police.


LD_1015_CRCCPanel_0269-TJINTER-RELIGIOUS ENGAGEMENT AND COOPERATION extending existing programs and initiatives through the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the NJ Office of the Attorney General, in a collaborative effort with the Office of Community Justice and the Division of Criminal Justice (Prosecutors Supervision & Training Bureau).