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County Introduces New "G.C.O.P." Program Adds Another Layer of Eyes and Ears to CommunitiesGloucester County On Patrol is a collaborative effort between Prosecutor and County Departments

(Woodbury, NJ) - Another layer of eyes and ears on the streets and in the communities of Gloucester County will be added by utilizing county employees who already drive radio equipped vehicles. Gloucester County Freeholder Director Sweeney, Deputy Director Damminger and Prosecutor Dalton today announced the creation of G.C.O.P., Gloucester County on Patrol, where county employees will be trained by the Prosecutor's Office to report criminal or suspicious activity to law enforcement.

"Many of our employees who drive county vehicles, like our public works department and special transportation drivers, travel our county roadways on a regular basis and are familiar with the neighborhoods in our community," said Freeholder Director Sweeney. "They are well suited to be trained to look for suspicious activity or vehicles, crime or other emergencies while they are out on our roadways and report them immediately to the proper law enforcement officials. They will add another layer of protection to our community," said Director Sweeney.

Freeholder Damminger, liaison to the County's Department of Public Works, which includes the county's highway division, planning division and offices of engineer and office of fleet management, said that this voluntary program is designed to train county employees to recognize and report crime and suspicious activity in their community to their respective law enforcement agencies. These trained individuals who have day to day contact with local residents will become extra eyes and ears to county local law enforcement. The volunteers will be trained to observe and report only. Their training will stress that employees are not to intervene or take any part other than to report suspicious activity or emergencies.

Additionally, County vehicles driven by those employees who go through the voluntary training will have a G.C.O.P. decal on them. Residents will be instructed that they can go to any G.C.O.P. decaled county for help in an emergency, and the employee will be able to quickly contact the police.

Freeholder Deputy Director Damminger said, "The 170 county vehicles with radios and the county employees who drive them will add a significant presence to alerting police, fire, and emergency medical services to emergencies throughout the county. They will be a great crime-watch program and we are happy that Prosecutor Dalton's office has offered to train our employees to perform this duty," said Damminger.

"This program provides an excellent opportunity to establish and strengthen the relationship between County employees and law enforcement," said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton. "It is my hope this partnership will continue to grow and be implemented by municipalities as well."

The Departments with vehicles that will be trained include Building and Grounds, Engineering, Mosquito Control, Division of Special Transportation, Animal Shelter, Highway department and Fleet Management. Training for the program will be given by Prosecutor Dalton's Critical Infrastructure Coordinator. The training will take between three and four hours and will begin in April.