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New Neighborhood Police Team Hits Hamilton Street

Bike-cops

Franklin Township Police Officers Deyo Swartz and Steven Ellmyer (left to right) have been assigned to a Neighborhood Police Team patrolling the Hamilton Street Business District.

A two-man “Neighborhood Police Team” has been created to patrol the Hamilton Street business district.

The team, which will officially deploy on July 14, is comprised of officers Steven Ellmeyer and Deyo “DW” Swartz, both of whom are 3-year veterans of the township police force.

The Hamilton Street Advisory Committee sees crime as one of the major obstacles in bringing back the district – which runs roughly between Franklin Boulevard and the New Brunswick border – as a thriving business center in town. At the suggestion of Township Councilman Phil Kramer (D-Ward 3), the advisory committee requested four dedicated police officers to patrol the district, which led to township Police Chief Lawrence Roberts including the officers as part of his 2015 budget request to the Township Council.

The council finally approved two new police officers.

Ellmeyer and Swartz were introduced to the advisory committee at its July 5 meeting.

The officers will patrol the district mainly on specially equipped bicycles. They were both certified in Basic Police Bike Operation by the International Police Mountain Bike Association (IPMBA), and had experience in bike patrol prior to joining the Franklin Police, according to a release on the team from the police department.

Ellmeyer came to the FTPD from the New Jersey Institute of Technology police department, while Swartz was previously employed by the Princeton University police department.

The Neighborhood Police Team was originally started in the 1990s, but had to be disbanded  when budget constraints forced the layoff of police officers. Current township manager Robert Vornlocker was a member of that initial team.

“I am pleased that we are able to bring back NPT,” Roberts said in the press release. “As a sergeant, one of my first assignments was to supervise this unit. I saw firsthand the positive effects it had on the community.”

NPT Officers will work closely with residents and business owners to develop solutions to issues within the community, according to the release.

“Problem solving cannot be done in a bubble, there needs to be a ‘team’ approach to issues,” Roberts said in the release. “Only when there is a partnership between the police and the community can true change be recognized.”

“None of this would have been possible without the support of the Township Council,” Roberts said in the release. “I believe the interactions between the NPT Officers and the community will open new lines of communication. These lines of communication will foster an environment of trust and mutual understanding between the police and the community.”

Pat Gianotto, chairman of the Hamilton Street Advisory Committee, welcomed the new officers.

“It’s the beginning of a process that is gong to make our neighborhood safer,” he said.

Ellmeyer and Swartz, along with officers Brian Quigley, Walter Skrobowski and Nicholas Gambino participate din April in the rescue of an elderly woman from a burning Spruce Street home.

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