NJ police chief: ‘Use common sense’ when reporting illegal gatherings
If there's a gathering in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call?
As New Jersey's top law enforcement officials publicly blast individuals who are violating Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order prohibiting gatherings of any size, residents are being encouraged to report illegal gatherings — if it's truly necessary.
"If residents see a violation of the governor's executive order, they should call the local police department," said Christopher Leusner, president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. "We ask, though, that residents use common sense."
If there are two kids playing on a street, a police response likely isn't needed, Leusner said. But a gathering — or party — of several adults, such as the "home concert" busted by police in Rumson on April 4, is something cops want to know about.
"We are trying to reduce the interactions that police officers have with citizens, so we want to make sure that it's a violation that warrants calling us," Leusner said. "We can't be everywhere at once, so we need the help and the cooperation of the community."
Leusner, who also serves as the police chief in Middle Township, said responding to these reported gatherings can put officers' own lives at risk — in terms of COVID-19 and other threats — "but that's their job."
"I can tell you, absolutely 100%, that police officers will do their job and take action," he said.
He noted only a small percentage of New Jersey residents are ignoring the governor's orders.