Police Chief Honored For Efforts In Diversifying Police Department

Lawrence Roberts - 1

Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts with his award from the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. Photo courtesy Phillip Kramer.

Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts was recently honored for his efforts in helping make the FTPD the most ethnically diverse department of its size in the state.

Roberts received the award at a June 10 banquet held in Edison by the North Jersey Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. Mayor Phillip Kramer also attended the banquet.

Kramer and the Township Council presented Roberts with a commendation for the achievement at the June 14 council meeting.

The department has 104 sworn officers, 14 percent of which are African-American and 85 percent of which are white, according to statistics from the department. Just about 1 percent of township police officers are Asian, according to the figures.

An additional 12 percent of police officers identify themselves as Hispanic, according to the figures. (The percentages do not add up to 100 because Hispanic is considered by federal policy as an ethnicity, not a race, as is white and African-American.)

According to latest Census figures, about 48 percent of township residents are white, while 27 percent are African American and 24 percent are Asian. Additionally, about 11 percent of the township’s population identifies as Hispanic, according to Census figures.

Roberts said the department looks for “the most qualified applicants,” but is actively recruiting minorities.

“There are a lot of good candidates out there and we go out and recruit them,” he said.

The award, he said, “means that the department is doing the right thing. An organization such as NOBLE will recognize the efforts not only of myself, but also the police department, who I give all the credit to.”

In accepting the commendation from the council, Roberts said that when he first took the job as chief, his stated goal was to have the police department reflect the overall community. Roberts acknowledged that “we still have a little way to go, but we will keep on doing what we have been doing.”

“We’re going to keep the ball rolling,” he said.

“Thank you for your work, not in getting the award, but for that this award is recognizing,” Kramer said.

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