Freeholder H. James Polos
Announces the Beginning of Operations of the Middlesex County on Patrol Program

October 22, 2001

Earlier this year, Freeholder H. James Polos announced the creation of a unique new service to be performed by the employees of the Middlesex County Department of Highways. This program, Middlesex County on Patrol (M.C.O.P.) is the state's first countywide program to utilize road department personnel to help protect the health, safety, and property of county residents.

"M.C.O.P. uses the eyes and ears of the employees in the County Department of Highways to alert police, fire, and emergency medical services to emergencies throughout the county. Our highway department employees, utilizing the two-way radios in their vehicles, will report any suspicious activity, which they may observe, to the highway department dispatcher, who will then contact the emergency or law enforcement service in the municipality where the activity is occurring." Freeholder H. Polos explained.

"All of our participating employees have been fully trained, and a training course will be scheduled annually to ensure that new employees are familiar with the requirements of the M.C.O.P. Program. This training will familiarize the employees with the program and stress that highway Department employees are not to intervene or take any part other than to report suspicious activity or emergencies. The Highway Department dispatcher will be provided with a telephone list for police, fire, and emergency services for each of our 25 municipalities, the State of New Jersey, and New Jersey Transit", Polos continued.

"M.C.O.P. is a proactive crime prevention program used to summon emergency assistance by Highway Department employees, whose work keeps them constantly on the road throughout the county. County Highway Department vehicles will be marked with a special blue and gold decal designed to identify vehicles participating in the program. The M.C.O.P. program is modeled after the New Jersey Transit on Patrol Program, which was the nation's first statewide community service program of this type. The M.C.O.P. program has been endorsed by New Jersey Transit and the Middlesex County Chiefs of Police Association", Polos pointed out.

"Since the tragic events of September 11th, many Americans have found themselves fearful and uncertain. It is important for every level of government not only to protect and defend the health, safety, and property of its citizens, but also to do its part to help return the sense of safety and security that once typified the daily life of our residents. I am very pleased that we are able to begin operation of the Middlesex County on Patrol Program today in an effort to let our Middlesex County community know that there County Government is doing its part.

One hundred employees of the Department of Highways and 100 distinctly marked vehicles traveling the urban, suburban, and rural areas of our county on a daily basis will be vigilant of their surroundings and ready to report street crimes, suspicious activity, accidents, fires, hazardous road conditions, or any other unusual circumstances to the Highway Department's dispatcher. Let me say, clearly, this program is not designed to replace or compete with professional law enforcement, but is designed has a crime-watch type program to help police, fire and emergency services serve and protect their residents", Polos added.

"We are very proud of the employees who voluntarily agreed to participate in this program. Employees who report emergencies, or suspicious activities, to their dispatcher, in accordance with the program's protocols, will receive a Certificate of Appreciation at an award ceremony to be held at a Freeholder meeting. The employees of the Department of Highways are ready to pitch in to assist their neighbors in the Middlesex County community re-establish the sense of safety and security, which is an important part of the high quality of life our residents have come to expect. The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to participate with our Highway Department employees in providing this unique new public safety service to our residents, particularly during these uncertain times." Polos concluded.