HP Police QuickTakes: cameras, bikes , and connecting with community

Get the picture? HP police officers are getting body-worn cameras.

Highland Park Officers assigned to the patrol division will be outfitted in the near future with body cameras worn on the front of their uniforms. The body-worn cameras initially are being deployed to patrol sergeants, bicycle patrol officer and motorcycle patrol officer. It is anticipated that all officers assigned to patrol will be equipped with the body-worn cameras within a few months.

Highland Park Police Department patrol vehicles have been equipped with dash-mounted cameras for over 20 years. The addition of body-worn cameras will aid in documenting what occurs during a call for service as well as assist in the collection of evidence and aid in investigations.

The body-worn cameras were purchased through a reimbursement grant sponsored by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

Show your bike some love by locking it up.

Bicycle thefts are a common summertime crime that can leave the victim angry and, in some cases, devastated, if the bicycle is the owner’s only mode of transportation. The Highland Park Police Department reported that the number of bike thefts in 2016 is tracking substantially higher than the number for 2015. But 2015 number was unusually low, and the 2016 figure seems to be in line with years past.


The totals are as follows:

–2013: Total number of bike thefts – 39; in June and July there were 10.

–2014: Total number of bike thefts – 38; in June and July there were 9.

–2015: Total number of bike thefts – 17; in June and July there were 4.

–2016: Total number of bike thefts (year to date) – 23; in June and July there were 10.

According to Police Captain Scott Golden, “Historically, there is an increase during the summer months as many bicycles are left unattended and unsecured.  As far as areas, there is no specific or high concentration where these thefts occur.  Bicycle thefts are mostly a spontaneous act – a bicycle left unsecured/unattended can be quickly taken, whether out in a public area or even in an open residential garage.  It is rare that we see a lock or a chain cut.  It is important that when a bicycle is left unattended, even for a minute, it should be securely chained to a fixed post and garages should be closed whenever possible.”


Police host National Night Out to unite police and residents against crime.

The Highland Park Police Department hosted National Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday, Aug. 2, from 5 to 9 p.m., in order to heighten crime prevention awareness and strengthen police-community relationships. Located in the municipal parking lot on Raritan Avenue and North Third Avenue., the Night Out event featured a DJ, live music, raffles and giveaways of merchandise donated by local businesses, free bike safety equipment (see story below), “tours” of emergency service equipment and vehicles, and party food – hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones, and soda.

The National Association of Town Watch created national Night Out Against Crime in 1983, as a way to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness. More than 11,000 communities in 50 states participated in the program last year. As part of the National Night Out tradition, residents were asked to turn on their porch lights on the night of August 2nd to show they are united in the fight against crime.

Free bike safety equipment was a highlight at National Night Out.

With an increased amount of bicyclists in town during the summer, the Highland Park Police Department created a bicycle equipment program to encourage bike safety. The Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management provided 50 bike locks, as well as bicycle reflector lights and bells, at the National Night Out celebration on Aug. 2. Giveaways were available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“The Highland Park Police Department strives to encourage bicycle safety,” said Highland Park Police Chief Stephen Rizco. As a walking community and a Complete Streets community that promotes pedestrian and bicycle traffic, “Highland Park welcomes bicyclists in our downtown and throughout the Borough. Using proper equipment when biking is important to ensuring the safety of our residents and their property,” said Chief Stephen Rizco.


Highland Park Police Youth Academy gets a thumbs up.

As part of its ongoing effort to enhance its positive relationship with residents, the Highland Park Police Department held a weeklong Youth Academy for students in grades 5-8. Highland Park Police Youth Officers Joe Curbelo and Gaetano Palumbo directed the academy, which ran from July 11 through July 15. Nearly 30 middle school students from throughout the community attended the camp.

In addition to educating the students about the many facets of police work, the police officers played games and ran physical training and warm-up drills with the students. The students had the opportunity to hear from numerous law enforcement organizations, including the Middlesex County Special Operations Response Team, the Gang Unit from Middlesex County Corrections, the FBI, New Brunswick K-9 Unit, and members of the Highland Park Detective Squad, Fire Department and First Aid Squad. Students learned about police procedures, such as taking fingerprints and collecting evidence. They were especially fascinated by the presentation from the NJ State Department of Corrections “Project Pride,” during which the kids heard stories from people who are currently incarcerated.

“It was so inspiring working with the students,” said Officer Curbelo. “They were enthusiastic about the program and eager to learn…. I’m already looking forward to next year.”

Officer Curbelo was appointed Youth Officer in 2015, as a response to a request from Highland Park parents for more interaction between officers and the community’s school children. When invited into the schools by the principals, Officer Curbelo he runs special safety sessions and interacts with students in a casual, non-threatening manner. He has built a strong relationship among many of our students.


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