Perspective: Hammonton Police Department
Our police department is charged with the responsibility of protecting life and property, enforcing laws and ordinances, all with the goal of having a peaceful and safe community in which people can live and visit. We here at the Hammonton Police Department (HPD) believe it’s so much more than that. We help citizens mediate conflicts, provide information and direction when people need help and have questions, render aid when they are injured and do a whole lot of preventive measure to be proactive. One of these proactive measures is the L.E.A.D. Program.
L.E.A.D. is the acronym for Law Enforcement Against Drugs. The curriculum, Too Good For Drugs by the Mendez Foundation, is taught in the Warren E. Sooy Jr. Elementary School to fifth graders. The 10-lesson curriculum covers life skill development for setting and achieving goals, making responsible decisions, identifying and managing emotions, and effective communication, bonding and relationships. The course continues with skills application in the safe use of medicines, peer-pressure refusal, and explains the harmful effects of alcohol use, nicotine use and marijuana use by young people.
The fifth grade students learn their weekly lesson and then bring home what they have been taught to share with their family through their “Lesson Take-away” sheet. The task re-affirms what life lesson or information they gained that day and also allows a discussion between parents and children.
The other wonderful lesson that the instruction time teaches to children is that police officers are a friendly part of the community and are there to protect and help them. The interaction enables young persons to see police as individuals and not just “a cop in a uniform.” The relationship between the children and police in this positive interaction develops trust and makes police approachable. This positive interaction continues through our School Resource Program in the middle and high schools.
Our L.E.A.D. Program is another shining example of the Community Policing initiatives that our Hammonton Police Department has with our town of Hammonton.
We all work together to make the town of Hammonton a great place to live, work and visit.
Kevin J. Friel