As our communities change, we as law enforcement must adapt. The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, as the Chief Law Enforcement Agency in Cumberland County, understands this very well. In a never ending quest to develop and grow, we must answer our call to service in whatever way is needed to connect with the community we serve and ensure we stay grounded in the truth that we cannot succeed in protecting and serving if we do not stop and listen.
Stop and listen is just what we did and we heard the calling loud and clear. The result? The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office (CCPO) – Community Policing Unit (CPU).
The CCPO Investigation Division has many bureaus and units staffed with sworn County Detectives (police officers), working each and every day and night investigating crime, making arrests, testifying in court, executing search warrants, interviewing victims and suspects and performing a whole host of law enforcement functions. These dedicated men and woman work mostly behind the scenes, during the day, late at night, on the weekends and through holidays, sacrificing their time and family life in service to their community and country. But, if you asked most citizens what a county detective does, most would either not know or relate the title to a negative moment in life, as either a victim, witness or suspect in a criminal matter.
This is because county detectives are not out in the public eye and serve behind the scenes. Unlike many law enforcement positions, the position of county detective is very restrictive by law and does not allow for any political or public positions, most secondary employment is forbidden and many aspects of a county detective’s public and private life is governed very strictly by state law. So, how do we as an agency connect with the public in a way they understand and does not always have a negative connection. We take it to the streets and get out there, that’s how.
The CCPO-CPU consists of a team of eight (8) hand-picked uniformed county detectives from the CCPO – Investigation Division charged with interacting with the community, local youth and civic leaders in a positive manner. The detectives assigned to the CPU serve as ambassadors for the CCPO and are chosen for their abilities to connect with the public and their dedication to the idea of community oriented policing. In order to serve in the CPU, each interested officer must submit a letter of interest explaining why they feel they can serve the CCPO, CPU and the public in a positive way. Applicants undergo an intensive selection process and once chosen, serve a minimum of a two (2) year tour in the CPU.
CPU officers attend many events throughout the year to include community events, career days, back-to-school events and other community outreach initiatives. They also work public events and festivals in a uniformed officer capacity to gain exposure to the public and add supporting officers on location for our local police departments.
The CPU works closely with our law enforcement partners and their respective community policing units. In addition to the above, CPU officers visit our local schools and neighborhoods and interact with local businesses on a regular basis.
“Being chosen to serve in the newly formed Community Policing Unit is a great honor for the officers selected,” says Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Richard Necelis. “They will be charged with truly making a difference in our community.”
So, when you are out and about, at an event or just passing by and see a CCPO-CPU officer, stop and thank them for their service and help them help you to make our community a safer and better place to live.