Hopewell Township Committee recognizes Women’s History Month, police department data, and COVID-19 updates

The Hopewell Township Committee met on March 7 to hold their regularly scheduled meeting in person. The Committee had a number of  presentations to hear and resolutions to adopt. The Committee recognized Women’s History Month and received updates on community policing data, and on COVID-19. 

The Committee began the meeting by reading the resolution recognizing  March as “Women’s History Month.” 

Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning read a speech by women’s suffrage leader, Carrie Chapman Catt. Catt campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in the early 1900s.  

“In 2001 to 2022, we have had 14 years of women as mayors, eight years as men — there have been five men to serve as mayor, and you are the 7th woman to serve as mayor in Hopewell Township,” Deputy Mayor Michael Ruger said to Peters-Manning. 

Peters-Manning then turned the meeting over to Police Director Robert Karmazin to give an update on the community policing data. 

Karmazin shared a powerpoint with the Committee going over department, traffic, and use of force statistics for 2021. He concluded by sharing information on accomplishments and programs. 

“The department has a wonderful reputation in Mercer County and it will continue to be an ethical and professional organization, as it has  always been, serving the members of this community,” said Karamzin. 

Karmazin mentioned how the Township saw a little over 5,000 traffic stops, 80 percent of which being white individuals. He then shared a speeding study of Lafayette Street, in Hopewell Borough.

The use of force statistics were very low, with only one officer and one subject injured. “This is not someone getting into a serious fight, we do see some compliance holds, but the numbers are quite low,” said Karmazin. 

Karmazin then shared a breakdown of types of crimes in the Township and their statistics. Fraud saw a significant spike. “A lot of that is internet crime, people are being taken through fraudulent means through the internet,” said Karmazin. 

Karmazin spoke to the Committee about  the different programs they have in the department, such as Operation Blue Angel. “That’s been working very well in the Pennington and Hopewell boroughs,” said Karmazin.  He also touched on the Safe Program for those registered to gain awareness for autism, and Project Medicine Drop. 

“We’ve gotten involved in quite a few programs last year that are new, the PBA has worked a lot with us, especially with Autism Awareness Month,” said Karmazin. 

The PBA purchased special badge patches for officers to help raise awareness.

The department is also in the process of establishing an LGBTQ+ liaison position in conjunction with Garden State Equality to provide year-round support for the community. 

Health Officer Dawn Marling then spoke to the Committee about COVID-19 updates. “This is a major milestone tonight as Governor Murphy has lifted the public health emergency,” Marling started. 

Marling said that, in Hopewell Valley, new infections and hospitalization rates  have plummeted over the past month. Community transmission rates are low for the first time since last summer. 

“We all know this is a snapshot in time, this virus will adapt, and we have to stay flexible in our response,” Marling noted. 

Peters-Manning told the Committee that they will continue on with the cannabis retail ordinance at the April 18 meeting. 

The next Hopewell Township Committee meeting will be held on March 21.

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