Courier Post – A State Police task force stationed in an intelligence hub in Gloucester County will connect the dots on crimes in six South Jersey counties, boosting local police crime-fighting potential in South Jersey.
New Jersey State Police unveiled its Real Time Crime Center, a community partnership with Rowan College at Gloucester County, inside the Deptford college’s Law and Justice Center Friday. The center began operating two months ago, State Police Detective Sgt. Peter Mosteller said.
Inside the center – a county college classroom converted to a command post – task force officers with southern counties can assist officers on the ground in a crisis, and use software to analyze crime trends to track offenders from Camden to Cape May counties.
The South Jersey center “closes the circuit,” giving South Jersey the capability to analyze how crime moves across municipal borders, State Police superintendent Col. Joseph Fuentes said.
The Deptford site is the third State Police crime center. Until now, detectives at computers at sites in Newark and Trenton would help South Jersey police track down fleeing murder suspects and follow suspected heroin dealers to their eventual capture, Mosteller explained.
The room, with large monitors mounted to the cinder block walls, is split into sections, each dedicated to a grouping of the southern counties. Task force members assigned to those regions are detectives or enlisted state police troopers with experience in those counties, he said.
The facility will not initially be staffed 24 hours a day like the northern crime centers. During day shifts, officers at computers will analyze data looking for links in other regions to build a fuller picture of where drug offenders are being picked up. In a crisis – an officer-involved shooting, for instance – Mosteller explained all task force members would work together gathering intelligence to find the suspects who fled.
“If you’re a municipal officer in a department, you don’t know what’s going on in a neighboring town,” Mosteller said.
“We can connect the dots for them.”
Locating the center at the college’s police academy is a perk for law and justice students, but it’s not a coincidence.
The law and justice center’s dean Sen. Fred Madden retired from the New Jersey State Police in 2002, after attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel and serving as the agency’s superintendent.
Madden pitched the partnership to college President Fred Keating. The program, which took over classroom space, passed the president’s three-pronged test, serving his students academically, protecting his campus and surrounding areas and serving the community, he said.
“I’m a college president and I’m concerned with the safety of our campus,” Keating explained.
“Just by the state police having a presence on our campus bodes well for our security.”
Students can expect to be exposed to State Police personnel in their classrooms and internship possibilities with the agency, he said.