The above picture depicts Lacey Township Police Chief Michael C. DiBella presenting on the heroin epidemic during the Red Night Out event held at the Lacey Township High School on the evening of March 10th, 2017.
This year’s Red Night Out event was a true success. The evening began at 6:00 p.m. with dinner in the cafeteria (provided by the Lacey Township Municipal Alliance). The dinner was provided through donations and served by members of several local school parent groups including the Cedar Creek PTA, Forked River PTA, Lanoka Harbor PTO, Mill Pond PTA, Middle School PTC, and the High School PTSA. In addition, informational tables were on display from numerous organizations including but not limited to the Lacey Township Police Department, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, Young People in Recovery of Ocean County, Barnabas Health DART Coalition, Hope Sheds Light, New Jersey Parents Support Group, Lacey Township Municipal Alliance Task Force, The Home Depot, the Maximilian Foundation, Cheryl A. Byk Counseling Associates and Ocean Mental Health.
The Lacey Township Police Department in partnership with the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department presented information on the Police Explorer program, a program for young adults between the ages of 14 and 21 who are interested in a career in Law Enforcement (Must be at least in the 9th grade and join before age 18). The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department provided Digital Child ID for parents with young children. The Lacey Township Police Department provided information on the 2017 Junior Police Academy being held in July 2017 (for school students going from the 7th grade into the 8th grade). In addition, both the Cedar Creek Elementary School Chorus and Lanoka Harbor Elementary School Chorus performed in the cafeteria. Furthermore, face-painting was provided by Lisa Webb and student volunteers.
Childcare was provided in the gymnasium for parents who were attending the presentations. Several activities were provided in the gymnasium including but not limited to a K-9 demonstration by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, a Yoga Stretch seminar by Adrienne Costa-DiPaolo and Amy Riley, magic by Magician Mark Wurst, and fun games and music from DJ Mike. The school hallways were filled with contests including the Elementary Poster contest, the Mill Pond Red Ribbon Sticker contest, and the Mill Pond photo booth display.
The presentations began at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium. The presenters included Heather Scanlon from the Lacey Township Municipal Alliance, The Superintendent of Lacey Township Schools Craig Wigley, Lacey Township Mayor Peter Curatolo, Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Piero from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Evelyn Toth and Alexis Moller from Young People in Recovery, and Dan Pentz, all three who shared personal stories. In addition a Drama Vignette was performed. Nancy Joyce presented on behalf of her daughter, Ally Joyce, and also introduced Dance Force of Berkeley Township who performed a memorial dance on behalf of Ally Joyce. The evening concluded with presentations from Lacey Township Police Chief Michael C. DiBella, Lacey Township Police Sergeant Robert Flynn, and Steve Willis of Hope Sheds Light. Tom Faulkner, and Donna McAvoy assisted with various introductions during the evening.
Chief DiBella discussed the current actions being taken by the Lacey Township Police Department since July 2016 to battle the present Heroin Epidemic. Those actions include but are not limited to the formation of the department’s first narcotics enforcement unit, whose priority is to arrest dangerous drug offenders including those who choose to sell heroin to our residents along with the formation of the Law Enforcement Against Drugs(LEADS) program in our community presently being provided to 6th grade students at the Mill Pond School.
The Leads program was founded in 2014, L.E.A.D. is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization, supported by dedicated professionals in the New Jersey Law Enforcement community. This evidence-based program ensures we provide proven effective methods of instruction and content to serve our communities. Utilizing the Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) curriculum, our law enforcement officers, together with our educators and families, hope to reinforce a framework of skills to empower the students to lead safe and healthy lives. Too Good for Drugs focuses on the importance of setting goals, building positive relationships, effectively communicating, and resisting peer pressure. This program also provides information about the negative consequences of drug use, drug related crimes, bullying and violence and the benefits of a drug-free, nonviolent lifestyle. We anticipate the program will be provided to all of 6th and 8th grade students in the upcoming 2017/2018 school year.
During his presentation, Chief DiBella presented the Public Safety Announcement on Heroin that was completed by students and staff from the Lacey Township High School Telecommunications class, Lacey Township Middle School Staff, the Lacey Township Police Department and the Lacey Township Emergency Services. The idea of a PSA on heroin began back in August 2016 and after endless hours of production the PSA was completed and presented by Chief DiBella. The students and staff involved in the PSA were acknowledged during the presentations by receiving a Certificate of Recognition from Mayor Peter Curatolo and Chief Michael C. DiBella (See attached link for the PSA below).
I am continually working to bring treatment to Lacey Township, including but not limited to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office HARP program, as well as partnering with additional recovery groups such as Young People in Recovery (YPR) of Ocean County. Young People in Recovery holds their monthly meeting right here in Lacey Township on the first Thursday of every month at the recreation building. YPR provides recovery services to both those who suffer from addiction as well as their families. Lacey Township continues to be at the forefront of battling the heroin epidemic. The Lacey Township Police Department will continue to fight this heroin epidemic from all angles, including but not limited to Enforcement, Education, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.
I would like to take this time to thank everyone who attended Red Night Out. As I stated during my presentation, as a parent, I know how difficult it can be to dedicate time to activities after a long day, or going out when you have other family obligations to attend to. Again, I want to thank everyone for attending this amazing event.
The list is too long to acknowledge each person individually, so I would just like to thank every single person who was involved in one way or another with this year’s March 10th Red Night Out.
The below picture depicts (in no particular order) Mayor Peter Curatolo, Chief Michael C. DiBella, and the students and staff involved in the production of the below PSA.
Heroin Destroys Happiness PSA
If someone you know is battling a heroin addiction and you want to help, please contact the Ocean County Prosecutor’s “HARP” program at 888-520-0400, or contact the New Jersey Hotline at 844-REACH-NJ, or go on-line to ReachNJ.gov.
-Chief Michael C. DiBella