The Asbury Park Community Development Initiative (APCDI) was formed by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Community Outreach Program in 2011. The APCDI is a coalition consisting of partners in law enforcement, faith based, non-profit and educational entities within Asbury Park and Neptune Township.
The APCDI is one of seven municipal planning boards in New Jersey. The Municipal Planning Board Program was started by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office as a way to implement a crime prevention strategy in New Jersey’s highest crime areas. The Attorney General provides each planning board with a facilitator who helps with the logistics involved in maintaining an active coalition such as the APCDI. The coalition meets every 6 – 8 weeks and is open to any organization that shares the same commitment to the community as it does.
The overall objective of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Community Outreach Program is to enhance trust and communication between law enforcement and the community in which they serve. The APCDI brings about a structured and proactive approach to community outreach and gives law enforcement a viable leadership role within the community in which it serves. The Mayor of Asbury Park and the Community Outreach Director of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office serve as co-chairs of the APCDI.
This collaboration has resulted in the creation of the following programs:
Police Chaplaincy Program: Under the guidance of one of our faith based leaders and the Asbury Park Police Department, there are 8 sworn police chaplains serving the city on a 24 hour, 7 day call rotation. These police chaplains are formally trained and undergo periodic review. They help the police department with notifications, station-house adjustments and counseling for both crime victims and police officers. More importantly, these chaplains serve as a direct conduit between law enforcement and the city’s faith based community. In June of 2016, 6 new chaplains will be trained and eventually sworn in as well.
Go for the Gold: This is a job training program headed by several of our non-profit partners involved in workforce training. The program itself consists of a 12-hour training session for recent graduates of local workforce development programs. This 12-hour session provides the “soft skills” necessary for employment such as interview preparation, professional etiquette and public speaking. Upon graduation from Go for the Gold each candidate receives an identification card that provides them with the endorsement of the APCDI.
Super Safe Summer Celebration: This is now an annual event where the APCDI and the Asbury Park Community Action Network (which is endorsed by the APCDI) sponsor and host a summer kick-off event for the entire city that takes place on Springwood Avenue. The purpose of the event is to showcase the city’s summer youth and public safety programs, as well as giving law enforcement the opportunity to directly engage with the community. Food and recreation is also provided during the day. The event was first held in June of 2014 and was attended by over a thousand city residents throughout the day.
Safe Streets: The Safe Streets program is a multi-faceted approach to prisoner re-entry within our communities. It is headed by the faith based community within Asbury Park under the leadership of the Asbury Park Community Action Network. The APCDI members who provide job training programs, mentoring and family support services coordinate with this effort in order to help facilitate this undertaking. The overall objective of this program is consistent with the law enforcement goal to reduce the rate of recidivism within our community.