BRICK TOWNSHIP — Brick Township Chief of Police James Riccio said this week the department will continue efforts to build positive relationships in the community after an altercation between officers and teenagers led to juvenile arrests in the Maple Leaf Park complex last week.
Eight juveniles were arrested last Friday, in what police described as a confrontational scene at the Maple Leaf apartments in the Herbertsville section of town.
Chief Riccio said that an altercation like the one that occurred between teens and police officers Jan. 3 is not common.
“Normally it doesn’t get out of hand. I mean, we have issues, but normally it doesn’t get that out of hand,” he said, adding that his officers have been working to improve relationships between the department and the Maple Leaf residents, which the chief said he would describe as one of the township’s “problem areas.”
“[Maple Leaf] has been on our radar for a number of years,” the chief said on Wednesday.
“As a matter of fact, when I took over as chief, we made [Maple Leaf] its own district so that there’s always a car assigned there. And also, weather permitting, there’s usually two bike officers in there as well.”
In recent years, the department has sponsored after-school programs for children in the complex’s clubhouse, which Chief Riccio said has been a major boost in community relations.
“[The relationship] has become much better over the years since we’ve had officers in there, especially with the bike patrol, and we’re doing our different mentoring programs in there and our after-school programs over there with the kids over at the clubhouse,” the chief said.
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