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Police Department

Linden Police Department Fulfills One Mind Campaign Pledge

Linden, NJ –The Linden Police Department is pleased to announce that they have completed a pledge they took to improve their response to those suffering from mental illness in their community. The pledge is part of an initiative called the One Mind Campaign started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), a 31,000 member professional association for law enforcement that provides training, technical assistance, and recruitment services. To join the One Mind Campaign, law enforcement agencies must pledge to implement four promising practices in a 12-36 month period to ensure successful future interactions between police officers and persons with mental illness. Linden became just the second agency in New Jersey to complete the pledge.

In the law enforcement community, mental illness has become a common focus, with some departments estimating that as many as 20% of their calls for service are related to mental health challenges. Chief David Hart made the decision to join the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s One Mind Campaign because of the growing number of calls for service related to mental health, as well as the challenges associated with safely dealing with a person in crisis.

“For years, we have been among the most progressive agencies in Union County and across the state in our efforts to build relationships within the mental health community,” said Chief Hart. “The One Mind Campaign is a natural fit, and our participation further demonstrates our commitment to helping members of our community who are in crisis.”

The Linden Police Department Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), led by Captain Abdul Williams, hosts several event throughout the year to help build relationships and interact with affected members of the community when they are not in crisis. Captain Williams and other members of the team have been instrumental in developing curriculum and facilitating training for Police officers across the state. The program is well-respected for their consistent, sustained efforts; in 2017 the program was honored as the Program of the Year by the CIT – NJ Center of Excellence in 2017. Captain Williams was also personally honored earlier this year when he was selected as the 2020 Program Coordinator of the Year.

In completing the One Mind Pledge, the Linden Police Department established a sustainable partnership with a local mental health organization, developed and implemented a model policy to address officers’ interactions with those affected by mental illness, and ensured that all of their officers received some type of mental health awareness training, with at least twenty percent of the department completing the more intensive CIT or equivalent crisis response training. The 40-hour Crisis Intervention curriculum is designed by local agencies to train a team of specialized officers to respond to calls that involve individuals with mental health disorders such as depression or intellectual disability. The curriculum includes education on various de-escalation techniques as well as live role-play scenarios of officers responding to persons who need mental health assistance.

“I want to tip my hat off to our Linden Police Department for their constant dedication and commitment to the Linden community and putting practices in place to bridge the gap between officers and persons with mental illnesses,” said Linden Mayor Derek Armstead. “The Linden Police Department is the second police department in NJ to complete the pledge, and we are proud of their efforts.””

For more information about the One Mind Campaign, visit the IACP’s website. A list of all agencies who have taken the pledge is available there. For more information about the Linden Police Department’s CIT program, please click here.

To view and/or download a PDF of this press release, please click here.

Record Numbers Graduate from Linden Police Department Youth Academy

Thirty-eight Cadets were celebrated by family, friends, and City Officials as they graduated from the Linden Police Youth Academy on Friday, July 16, 2021.

The Academy is a free, annual program offered to Linden residents entering sixth, seventh, or eighth grade. The program includes presentations and hands-on demonstrations from Police Department personnel and agency partners to familiarize Cadets with Police operations, criminal investigations, first aid, and other Police related duties. This was the third year the Department has hosted the program; it was canceled in 2020 due to Covid restrictions.

The program was made possible by a $5,000 donation from the Linden Branch of Columbia Bank.  

“Our Youth Academy is one of the most anticipated community events of the year,” said Police Chief David Hart. “Columbia Bank has supported this program from its inception; their generous donation, and the support of our community partners, allowed us to make this experience available to more kids while keeping it free of change.”

We would like to thank all of the Police Officers, Detectives, and Traffic Investigators who made themselves available to help with this program throughout the week. We would also like to thank our partners who did so much to make this experience special for our Cadets:

Columbia Bank of Linden, Villani Bus Company, Linden Airport, Linden PBA Local # 42, Linden Police Superior Officers Association, Linden Recreation Department, The US Marine Corps Recruiting Center Elizabeth, NJ Transit Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit, Norfolk Southern Railroad Police, Linden Fire Department, Union County Police SWAT, US Customs & Border Protection, Union County Homicide Task Force, and the Union County Bomb Squad.

Linden Police Department Youth Police Academy

The Linden Police Department Youth Police Academy is available to Linden students graduating 6th, 7th and 8th grades. As part of the Academy, you’ll learn about the Linden Police Department and other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, you’ll receive basic training in police procedures/operations, criminal investigations, drill and ceremony and first aid! You will also benefit from K‐9, SWAT, Bomb Squad and other demonstrations! And most of all, you’ll have a lot of fun! For more information, download, fill out and submit your application.

Space is limited! Applications must be dropped off in person to the front desk of the Linden Police Department. 

Linden Man Charged with Committing Lewd Acts in Front of Children at Public Park

Press Release – from Union County Prosecutor’s Office

  • For Immediate Release
  • May 25, 2021
  • Contact: Mark Spivey, Union County Prosecutor’s Office
  • 732-236-9849; Email

A Linden man has been arrested and criminally charged with performing lewd acts in front of children at a city park, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Linden Police Chief David Hart jointly announced Tuesday.

Paul J. Schappe, Jr., 68, is charged with second-degree sexual assault, third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact, and two counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

A joint investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit and the Linden Police Department determined that at approximately 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 2, Schappe allegedly approached a juvenile under the age of 13 who was playing basketball in Clifford Lawson Memorial Park and directed comments of a sexual nature toward him while touching himself inappropriately over his clothing, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Bruce Holmes, who is prosecuting the case. The investigation further revealed that Schappe had been seen allegedly masturbating in the park while partially nude on at least one other occasion, when multiple children were present.

Schappe was arrested Monday evening without incident and lodged in the Union County Jail pending a first appearance and detention hearing to take place in Union County Superior Court.

Anyone with any information about this matter is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Jessica Tattoli at 908-341-5418 or Linden Police Department Detective David Nolasco at 908-474-8521.

Convictions on charges of this nature can result in sentences of 5 to 10 years in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

To view and/or download a PDF of this press release, please click here.

Linden Police to Participate in Click it or Ticket Enforcement Campaign May 24th through June 6th

Linden — The Linden Police Department is reminding drivers about the lifesaving benefits of wearing a seat belt this spring, during the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national Click It or Ticket high-visibility enforcement effort. The national seat belt campaign, which coincides with the Memorial Day holiday, runs from May 24th until June 6th, 2021.

“We want the act of buckling up to become automatic to all drivers and passengers,” said Police Chief David Hart. “It’s not just a safe thing to do; it’s the law. During the Click It or Ticket campaign, we’ll be working with our fellow law enforcement officers across local and state lines to ensure the message gets out to drivers and passengers. Buckling up is the simplest thing you can do to limit injury or save your life during a crash. We see the results of not wearing a seat belt all the time. We see the loss of life. So often, it could have been prevented.”

For this year’s Click It or Ticket seat belt mobilization effort, NHTSA is asking all states to participate in the kickoff event, Border to Border (B2B), a one-day, 4-hour national seat belt awareness event on May 24 that is coordinated by participating state highway safety offices and their respective law enforcement liaisons. The B2B program aims to increase law enforcement participation by coordinating highly visible seat belt enforcement and providing seat belt fact sheets for drivers at heavily traveled, highly visible state border checkpoints.

According to NHTSA, in 2019, there were 9,466 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. In that same year, 55% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts. That’s why one focus of the Click It or Ticket campaign is nighttime enforcement. Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. In New Jersey, the penalty for a seat belt violation is $46.

“You may think you’re safe in a certain vehicle, or on a certain road, but the truth is, you’re safest when you buckle up, no matter what,” said Chief Hart. “Unfortunately, many families are suffering because their loved ones refused to follow this simple step.” Almost twice as many males were killed in crashes as compared to females, with lower belt use rates, too. Of the males killed in crashes in 2019, more than half (51%) were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 40% were not buckled up.

“If the enforcement effort wakes people up to the dangers of unrestrained driving, then we’ll consider our mission to be a success,” said Chief Hart. “If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits. Help us spread this lifesaving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone — front seat and back, child and adult — needs to remember to buckle up.”

  • For more information on the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please click here.
  • To view and/or download a PDF of this press release, click here.

Two Men Arrested in Connection with Convenience Store Robbery

For Immediate Release

Lawrence Thomas, 29, of Plainfield and Travis Price, 28, of Linden were arrested and are charged with first-degree robbery for their alleged role in a convenience store robbery.

On February 21, 2021, at approximately 10:15pm, Linden Police Officers responded to the 7-Eleven store located at 1832 E. St. George Ave on a reported robbery. An initial investigation indicated that the two suspects entered the store, at which time one of the suspects walked behind the counter and ordered the clerks to empty the register. The second suspect, who remained near the entrance to the store, allegedly lifted his shirt in a manner that suggested that he was in possession of a weapon. The suspects then fled the scene on foot. The clerks, a 32-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman, were not injured during the incident.

A subsequent three-week joint investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Division, Linden Police Detective Bureau, and Elizabeth Police Department identified Thomas and Price as the suspects and resulted in the charges. The Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, along with members of the Union and Roselle Police Departments, also assisted in the investigation.

“Cooperative partnerships between members of the community and among various law enforcement agencies is an essential part of any successful criminal investigation and prosecution,” said Linden Police Chief David Hart. “We are appreciative to our law enforcement partners for their help in this case, and we applaud the courageous victims and witnesses who have taken a stand to condemn violence in our community.”

The defendants were arrested without incident on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Thomas surrendered to Police at Linden Police Headquarters and remanded to the Union County Jail pending an appearance in Superior Court.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

####

Newark Man Arrested Following Attempted Car Burglary

William Fales, 29, of Newark, was arrested and is facing charges related to a vehicle burglary.

Just before 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 Officers responded to the 400 block of Ainsworth St after a resident reported that a man was pulling on car door handles. Officers located Fales at the corner of W. Elm & Brook St, and a subsequent investigation identified him as the suspect.

At the time of his arrest, Fales was found to be in possession of several items that were stolen from a separate vehicle burglary on December 3, 2020.

Fales was arrested and is charged with third-degree burglary and possession of stolen property, a Disorderly Persons offense. He was remanded to the Union County Jail pending an appearance in Superior Court.

Similar incidents throughout the city remain under investigation, and anyone with information about them is urged to contact Det. Michael Cistaro at (908) 474-8530 or via email to mcistaro@lpdnj.org.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

To view and/or download a copy of this press release, please click here.

Fugitive Wanted for Linden Homicide Apprehended in Georgia

For Immediate Release

A fugitive wanted in connection with a fatal shooting that took place in Linden two months ago has been located and apprehended in Georgia, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Linden Police Chief David Hart jointly announced Tuesday.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Service took 38-year-old Dion M. Johnson of Linden into custody in the Atlanta area on Monday; he is charged with first-degree murder and two second-degree weapons offenses in connection with the death of 38-year-old Darrell Q. McKoy.  

Shortly after 12:45 p.m. on Monday, October 5, members of the Linden Police Department responded to the 1200 block of Essex Avenue and found McKoy outside his home at that location, having sustained serious injury, according to the preliminary investigation. McKoy was transported to Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 1:30 p.m.

An investigation led by the Union County Homicide Task Force and assisted by members of the Linden Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit resulted in Johnson being identified as a suspect in the case. He currently remains in custody in Georgia pending extradition back to New Jersey.

Anyone with information about this matter is still being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Sonia Rodriguez at 908-341-3380 or Sgt. Johnny Ho at 908-403-8271. 

“Working in tandem with our investigative partners in Linden and with the county, our Homicide Task Force has been hard at work on this case since its inception, following every lead in pursuit of this defendant,” Prosecutor Ruotolo said. “I would like to commend the Union County law enforcement team, as well as our federal partners at the U.S. Marshals Service, for their efforts in ensuring that he is brought to justice.”

Convictions on criminal charges of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Contact: Mark Spivey, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, 732-236-9849; mspivey@ucnj.org

To view and/or download a copy of this press release, please click here.

Linden Police “No Shave November” & “Nails for November” Raise $5K for Charity

Linden – Linden Police Chief David Hart joined Linden Police Benevolent Association Local #42 President Joseph Appello and Linden Police Superior Officers Association President Joseph Birch to announce that the Department raised $5,000 in its third annual “No Shave November” & “Nails for November” event.

“I continue to be overwhelmed at the popularity and success of this effort,” said Chief Hart. “More than half of the Department participated to raise money for this very worthy cause. I would like to thank each of them, especially Presidents Appello and Birch, for their incredible generosity.”

A donation in the amount of $5,000 was presented to Men’s Health Network (MHN), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health awareness and disease prevention messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation. Learn more at menshealthnetwork.org

MHN Vice President Ana Tomšić, who received the donation on behalf of the organization, stated “Men’s Health Network thanks the Linden PBA Local 42, the Linden Police Superior Officers Association, and the Linden Police Department for their generous support in raising awareness of the important issue of men’s health this November. Especially with the current situation in our society as it is, there is plenty that we can do to help raise awareness and promote good health among our family, friends, and colleagues from afar. Keeping healthy means that communities (both personal and professional) will thrive for a long time.”

The Department will build on this success and continue their fund raising efforts by participating in “Double-Down December.” Grooming standards will continue to be relaxed through the end of the year for participants who make a second matching donation. Monies raised in Double-Down December will be dedicated to host a community event later in the month, and any remaining monies will be donated to St. Joseph’s Social Service Center in Elizabeth, NJ.

Members of the public are invited to participate. Checks or money orders made payable to Linden PBA Local 42, RE: DDC will be accepted at the Police desk any time during the month of November. A receipt will be given for each donation, but unfortunately CASH DONATIONS CANNOT BE ACCEPTED.  

To view and/or download a PDF of this press release, click here.

Two Arrested After Linden Police Seize Handgun During Traffic Stop

Newark residents Walir Reynolds, 30, and Janiyyah Jones, 25, have been arrested and are facing weapons charges after Police recovered a handgun during a motor vehicle stop.

Police allege that they observed the vehicle speeding along Route 1 just before 9:30pm on Thursday, November 19, 2020. Officers stopped the vehicle, and a subsequent investigation led to the recovery of a handgun from inside the vehicle. Reynolds and Jones are charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.

“This is the twelfth illegal gun we have seized this year,” said Police Chief David Hart. “We will continue to pro-actively work to take these guns off our streets.”

Reynolds and Jones were both remanded to the Union County Jail pending an appearance in Superior Court.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

To view and/or download a PDF of this press release, click here.