An event to forge bonds between police and residents of Berkeley Township gets support, conceptually and financially, from the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

Summit PD Det. Matthew Tarentino (NJ Atty. General's Office)

The township's police jurisdiction is one of 28 law-enforcement agencies in the state that shares $219,000, furnished through the Detective Matthew L. Tarentino Community Policing Program.

Berkeley's portion, $9,449, cover the costs of Manitou Park Family Unity Day, in collaboration with the township Department of Recreation, August 12, 12 noon until 8 PM. Lieutenant Ryan Roth led the application effort, according to Mayor Carmen Amato.

(Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media)

Police will cook up a storm for lunch and dinner, while conducting games for children, inspecting bicycles for safety, and handing out free helmets to youngsters who need them.

The program, which fosters close ties between police and those they serve, commemorate the late Summit detective whose communication skills set a high benchmark for community relations, and whose life ended in a May 30 car crash.

Altogether, 128 departments applied for grants, which were expanded from the original $121,000, signifying Tarentino's badge number 121.

Berkeley PD is the only Ocean County agency that won a grant. Hazlet, Burlington City and Pleasantville also received portions, which range from several hundred dollars to $10,000 statewide. A second round is to be distributed later this year.

Attorney General Christopher Porrino's view is that community policing is a vital link to trust and mutual respect.

“The overwhelming response we received from law enforcement for this new program is a tribute to Detective Tarentino and a testament to the strong commitment of New Jersey officers to community policing,” Porrino said.

“Detective Tarentino had a tremendous passion for public service and embraced the community he served in a remarkable way.  The initiatives we are funding will honor his extraordinary spirit and keep that spirit alive across our state.”

Berkeley Township police warm up for Manitou Park Family Unity Day with their sixth annual Night Out Against Crime, Wednesday, August 2, coinciding with the summer concert series in Veterans Park.

Fun starts at 5 PM. Police, firefighters and first-aiders display the vehicles and gear they employ every day, and kids can compete in games for prizes from the DARE program, under the auspices of Berkeley Township PBA Local 237. Afterwards, Radio Nashville cranks out country gold on the bandstand.