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Trauma-Responsive Policing Among Topics Featured in Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey Conference on December 5, 2019
November 6, 2019


Middle Township Police Chief Christopher Leusner to Share Lessons and Lead Conversation Exploring Collaborative Practices to Reduce the Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences



On Thursday, December 5, 2019, at the Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey Conference, Middle Township Chief of Police and New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police President Christopher Leusner will highlight key lessons from the Cape Regional Wellness Alliance’s approach to trauma-responsive practices in Cape May County. The “Trauma Responsive Policing” session will cover practices Law Enforcement personnel and their community partners can implement to lessen the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in their communities. In addition, participants will gain an understanding of the Middle Township Police Department’s Handle With Care program and available resources from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Yale Childhood Development Center to assist Police Departments in effectively responding to calls for service involving youth.

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Trauma-Responsive Policing Advances the Cape Regional Wellness Alliance’s Broader Goal to Establish Cape May County as a Trauma-Informed Community

Sixty-one sworn officers make up the Middle Township Police Department and serve a population of 20,000 that swells to 70,000 in the summer. Chief of Police Christopher Leusner continues to represent the law enforcement sector within the Cape Regional Wellness Alliance, a cross-sector community-based coalition of more than 60 organizations and individuals working to build resiliency among youth. The Alliance’s work includes adopting a trauma-informed approach and engaging the broader community in efforts to reduce the impact of childhood trauma, or ACEs, in Cape May County. In an initial step, Chief Leusner realized the importance of acknowledging the traumatic events many police officers face.

“Police officers chose this line of work and struggle with trauma themselves. So I ask them to consider ‘How does a child navigate a traumatic experience?’” he says.

Police officers chose this line of work and struggle with trauma themselves. So I ask them to consider, ‘How does a child navigate a traumatic experience?’

Middle Township Chief of Police Christopher Leusner

To complement the introduction of a trauma-responsive policing policy, all of the Middle Township Police Department personnel participated in trainings focused on trauma-informed practices. This strategy reassured officers these policy- and systems-level changes, and directives such as — 1) when possible, avoid arresting a parent or guardian within view of a child, 2) do not ask children to serve as interpreters, and 3) conduct follow-up visits with children who have experienced a traumatic event to provide a positive interaction with law enforcement and reinforce their sense of safety — were supported by the police department’s senior leadership. By shifting to a trauma-responsive policing approach, the Middle Township Police Department continues to build upon its collaborative work with school administrators and additional Cape Regional Wellness Alliance partners to make Cape May County a trauma-informed community.

Related: ‘Handle with Care’ Police Program is For Students After Trauma at Home

Registration is Open for the 2019 Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey Conference

With the theme “Inspiring Community Changemakers,” the Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey Conference features workshops designed to inspire and educate participants about equity and the social determinants of health – empowering attendees to advance change in their own communities. In addition to “Trauma Responsive Policing,” the conference agenda includes sessions titled “Youth Justice Reform Efforts in New Jersey,” “Why ALICE Matters” and “Census 2020 New Jersey.” Dr. Tiffany Manuel, CEO of The Case Made, will deliver the keynote address.

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Learn more and participate in the conversation at Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey: Inspiring Community Changemakers on Thursday, December 5, 2019. Register for the conference by clicking here.

New Jersey Health Initiatives is a sponsor of Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey: Inspiring Community Changemakers.

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