MORRIS COUNTY — On Tuesday, February 5 New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal spoke to approximately 125 attendees and community leaders of Morris County and Sussex County concerning his recently issued Immigrant Trust Directive. Attorney General Grewal explained the directive, then fielded questions from those in the audience.
This two hour community outreach event was held at the Presbyterian Church of Morristown Parish House as part of Attorney General Grewal’s 21-21 Community Policing Project, in which all 21 County Prosecutor’s Offices conduct educational programs for the communities in which they serve. The event was hosted by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General in partnership with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp and Sussex County Prosecutor Francis Koch provided welcoming remarks to those in attendance before AG Grewal’s presentation. Deputy Attorney General Joseph Walsh provided the audience with an in-depth analysis of the functions and execution of the Immigrant Trust Directive following the opening remarks and Attorney General Grewal’s question and answer period. His presentation explained how the Immigrant Trust Directive will function in New Jersey upon its effective date of March 15, 2019. Walsh took questions following his presentation. The audience was eager to clarify some of the aspects of the Directive, and many questions were answered by DAG Walsh.
Also in attendance was Rachel Apter, Director of the Division on Civil Rights. Director Apter provided remarks on the second portion of the program, Bias Crimes and Incidents. The second half of the program consisted of a panel discussion moderated by Prosecutor Knapp focused on Bias Crimes and Incidents.
The panel was comprised of NJ OAG Training & Outreach Liaison David Leonardis, Middlesex County Department of Corrections Chief Investigator David D’Amico, FBI Special Agent Vernon Addison, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Supervisor Patrick LaGuerre, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Samantha DeNegri, and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office Assistant Prosecutor Donald Cox. The discussion covered the differences between bias crimes and incidents, law enforcement’s procedures in investigating bias crimes and incidents, and the legal aspects in charging those types of crimes.
The combination of state and federal employees on the panel provided the audience with the opportunity to obtain as much information as possible. Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp said, “I would like to thank Attorney General Grewal, Prosecutor Koch and all of our partners in this event for ensuring its success.
We were thrilled to see so many community members in attendance. The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to host outreach programs with the goals of further educating the community on law enforcement and to help the public better understand the duties and obligations of police and prosecutors”. Sussex County Prosecutor Francis Koch stated: “It was a pleasure and honor to co-host this important public forum with the Attorney General’s Office and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.
Public outreach events such as this are critical to educate the public and to foster trust, and establish better and more cooperative relationships between all community members and law enforcement. This event was a success in all regards and I look forward to continuing with community outreach programs.”