On Saturday, dozens of police departments and public safety agencies from all over the state came together to discuss and demonstrate public safety techniques at the 2012 Essex County Police and Public Safety Expo.
Sponsored by the Essex County Crime Prevention Officer's Association, the goal of the event was to raise public awareness about the services offered by local, state, county, and federal agencies. In addition, it gave the different departments a chance to share ideas.
“One of our goals is to get everybody on board and to increase information sharing,” said Livingston Police Officer Gary Mankowitz, who also serves as president of the association.
Attending this year’s expo at the Livingston Mall were representatives from the police departments in Newark, Livingston, Bloomfield, Essex Fells, Caldwell, Maplewood, Millburn, West Orange, Belleville, Rockaway and East Orange.
Joining them were state and countywide departments, such as the New Jersey Department of Corrections, the Port Authority Police, the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Essex County Sherriff’s Office K-9 Bomb Unit, the New Jersey Association of School Resource Officers, the New Jersey State Police, the Essex County Crime Prevention Officers, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, the Rutgers Campus police, the Montclair State University police, the Essex County Crime Scene and Forensics Units and the Essex County Police Academy led by Rocco Miscia.
Not only was New Jersey well represented, but public safety agencies from all over the country came to be a part of this event. The United States Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspector, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms department and the United States Army had tables, as well as the Red Cross and New York Life insurance.
The Livingston Fire Department was there as well to show off some fire prevention tips in conjunction with the St. Barnabas Fire Safety house. Atlantic Ambulance had a table with EMS information.
The association recognized three members for their work in public safety.
East Orange Police Chief William C. Robinson was recognized for reducing crime in East Orange to its lowest level since 1967. Crime in the town was reduced by 11% in 2011.
Bloomfield’s Kevin O’Connell, also the vice president of the Essex County Crime Prevention Officer's Association, received an award for outstanding service in Bloomfield and his work with the association.
Newark’s Detective Genaro Ortiz, who has dressed up as Batman every year for the expo, was recognized for crime prevention in Newark and his work in community service.
Batman and McGruff the Crime Dog were in attendance for the kids. Also the Livingston Kiwanis Club and New York Life insurance provided tables for residents to create ID cards for juveniles.
Sal Galati, a professional DJ from Livingston, donated his services to the expo to help emcee the event. The Abundant Life Church’s Stephanie Bell sang the National Anthem.
Some of the demonstrations offered to mall-goers was a Red Man suit demonstration by the Essex County Police Academy and Department of Corrections, a Fatal Vision test by the Caldwell Police Department, a demonstration of a police helicopter by the New Jersey State Police and fingerprinting by the Millburn Police Department. The Essex County Forensics unit showed residents how to dust for finger prints while the United States Postal Inspector showed how they can check the mail for dangerous substances.
Also sharing their services were the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene Unit and the Newark Explorers, a police training program for kids ages 13-21.