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Officials Recognize Police for State, National Awards

Gloucester Township's elected officials praise police for recent awards.

Mayor David Mayer and the Township Council on Monday recognized the Police Department on awards it has received in recent months for its anti-bullying and traffic-safety initiatives.

Gloucester Township Police Department in July received an award and was recognized by the School Safety Advocacy Council as one of 12 worldwide programs that promote keeping students safe in their communities.

The Police Department's Project BATLE anti-bullying program, which is run in collaboration with local and regional schools, was selected from among 65 applicants worldwide, according to Mayer.

"Our program here, I think, is something that should be a statewide, if not national, model to follow," Mayer said.

Police Chief W. Harry Earle credited police Cpl. Sean Grannan and Det. Brian Farrell and Timber Creek Regional High School counselors Michele Selfridge and Donna Fonte for the success of Project BATLE (Bullying Awareness Through Law Enforcement), which was implemented last fall. Selfridge is Timber Creek's social worker, Fonte its student assistance coordinator.

Earle pointed to six components of Project BATLE he feels are making a difference in the community. They are: Sharing critical information with schools; The Gathering Space, a program where Selfridge and high school-aged student leaders meet to talk with teens; a soon-to-be-implemented Parent Club, where parents can seek advice in dealing with issues at home; analyzing critical incidents and how police and school officials respond to them; and Handshakes, Not Handcuffs, a program for younger children who have engaged in crime.

Farrell picked up the National School Safety Award Exemplary Program Recognition award during the National School Safety Conference in Orlando, FL, in late July.

In May, the Police Department was awarded first place in the 2012 New Jersey Law Enforcement Challenge for towns with forces of 101 to 200 officers by the Office of New Jersey Highway Traffic Safety, New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The award relates to the Police Department's traffic-safety efforts. Earle pointed to the Police Department's community notification system as a key element in winning the award, and commended Lt. Brian McKendry, Traffic Safety Bureau commander.

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