FIRST REPORT: Lakewood Police Department announces Strategic Response Unit, other security initiatives for 2020 [UPDATED]

The Lakewood Police Department this afternoon announced the launch of the Strategic Response Unit, as well as other initiatives to enhance security around Lakewood.

Overseen by Lieutenant LeRoy Marshall, the Strategic Response Unit was designed and implemented to address the growing needs of the Township of Lakewood. It was designed to operate throughout the entire town and they will be tasked with increasing police visibility at designated critical infrastructures, specializing in rapid mobilization and critical incident awareness training. The Strategic Response Unit will also respond to schools, houses of worship and any other major events with equipment and trained personnel. They will identify and analyze any and all gathered intelligence and utilize the results to coordinate deployments. The unit will also respond quickly and decisively to critical incidents or threats.

The Strategic Response Unit will conduct daily counterterrorism deployments in conjunction with other Department units based upon current intelligence and threat assessments. They will work closely with the County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement counterparts to ensure the safety of the residents of Lakewood. The Strategic Response Unit can be deployed at any time to supplement patrol resources or other Department initiatives.

In addition to the Unit, Chief Meyer also announced other security enhancements, including equipping security guards to enable them to report any security issues directly to police, outfitting police cars with a new high-visibility light feature and more.

All the initiatives are expected to go into affect this year.

UPDATE: Below are the Chief’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon thank you all for coming and a thanks to the Township Committee and manager for making this event possible.

Not only are we here for promotions and to announce and swear in our most recent hires, but to announce some new department initiatives. These new sergeant promotions will add increased supervision to each of the shifts and allow for more supervisors working each day to ensure public safety.

I am very happy to announce these new initiatives for 2020.

We have retrofitted all of our patrol vehicles with a cruise/patrol light feature on the light bars, where the officer can activate while on patrol for higher public visibility. This will allow both higher visibility and act as a deterrent while our officers are out on patrol.

We will also be outfitting our crossing guards with police radios where they can call in situations immediately that require a police presence. This will give us extra eyes and ears out on watch every day.
We will also be instructing other township employees such as public works with ways they can observe and report back suspicious circumstances and persons/events 24/7 during the course of their shifts.
These areas alone will increase our police footprint or Omni presence all over town on a daily basis. In addition we are happy to announce a new unit to the police department. We will be calling this unit the “Strategic Response Unit” and it will be staffed by officers from all areas of the department. It will fall under the supervision of Lt Marshall, in addition to the SRO and CRO units and homeland security. With this new unit we will be able to increase our presence in many of our schools and houses of worship that do not get regular visits. This unit will be able to respond to large events and gatherings and work within the entire Lakewood community. They will work independent of patrol, 7 days a week.

You can reach the new unit SRU is for information or requests if you need to report or make a request that’s not of an emergent basis. It will not be manned 24 hrs, you can email SRU@lakewoodpolice or leave a message and we will get back to you. It is extension 2020. 732-363-0200 x 2020

We will be working hand in hand with the Sheriffs Dept, thank you to Sheriff Mastronardy for all of your help.

We will also be working with our private partners and companies on ways to install alarm style emergency buttons with will light up on a screen in our dispatch center from various schools, houses of worship and even banks who have had these types of alarms for years.

In addition to all of these new measures, all of our officers are making extra checks on various businesses, homes, schools, houses of worship during their daily duties and being more vigilant on a daily basis.
We recently started a new pilot program where the officers are wearing the navy blue outer vest carrier, which holds not only their bullet proof vests, but their equipment on the vest rather than their hips and back, reducing back strain and pain. It also puts all of their tools within easy reach for them and has police written on them for higher visibility.


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