The South Orange Police Department is a dynamic, full-service police organization committed to providing the highest level of service and protection to South Orange Village. Each of our police professionals is dedicated to making a positive difference in the community. At the forefront of our efforts is our philosophy of community policing and citizen safety. We practice community-based policing and value partnerships with citizens, businesses, and community organizations.
The South Orange Police Department is the 911 call center for this Township. As such, all 911 emergency calls are answered at Police Headquarters and routed as appropriate. As first responders, SOPD officers will almost always be the first public safety official on the scene of any call for service. The fire department and ambulance service will be dispatched to respond when their services are needed.
South Orange Police Officers respond to a wide variety of calls for service. The main divisions of the Department are: Patrol, Investigations, and Administration.
Some of the more common calls for service that uniformed Patrol officers respond to are:
- 911 hang-ups (caller dials 911 but does not stay on call to speak with the dispatcher),
- Medical calls,
- Quality of life complaints (e.g. noise, consuming alcohol in public spaces, improper use of public park facilities, littering, animal complaints)
- Criminal mischief (intentional damage to another’s property)/vandalism
- Traffic accidents,
- Traffic violations (e.g. speeding, improper parking, stop sign/red light violations),
- Burglar/fire alarms,
- Vehicle/garage/home burglaries,
- Domestic violence complaints,
- General calls for assistance.
When not directly responding to calls for service, uniformed officers perform traffic related initiatives and proactive patrol in order to provide a highly visible presence throughout the Township. In addition officers use directed patrols to provide greater intensity for longer duration to areas in which numerous complaints have been received.
Officers assigned to the Investigative division (also known as the Detective Bureau) perform a variety of functions, primarily of which are the follow up investigations of criminal activity reported to the Patrol division. The purpose of these investigations are to identify, locate, arrest, charge, and provide sufficient evidence to the Municipal or County Prosecutor to sustain convictions in Court.
The Administrative division is responsible for providing the logistical framework and support services required to maintain the functions of the Department, which include but are not limited to:
- Human Resources,
- Vehicle Maintenance,
- Internal Affairs,
- Policy review, development, and compliance,
- Labor relations,
- Data/Information gathering and Research such as vehicle traffic and pedestrian safety studies,
- Community Relations & Public outreach, and
- Interface with the Township’s other Departments and elected officials.
One of the resources South Orange provides to reduce the number of calls to the police department is: S.O. Connect. It is an online complaint reporting system where the user directs the type of complaint they have to the appropriate Township department. This system has allowed residents to directly bring their concern on non-law enforcement matters to those that have the ability to best assist them. When we do receive calls on such matters we do our best to assist if can, give advice, and route the inquiries appropriately.
As always, with any emergency in which a person’s safety is jeopardized, rapidly calling 9-1-1, requesting help, and accurately communicating the circumstances is strongly encouraged. This allows us to respond quickly, mitigate harm to victims, and save lives.