Mayor Pasquale Menna and Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor Lori Linskey at Red Bank’s National Night Out in August. Below, the decal to be displayed under the Safe Spaces program. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
Red Bank businesses will soon be able to proclaim their spaces as havens for individuals targeted in bias crimes.
Under a new program unveiled Wednesday by Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor Lori Linskey and local law enforcement officials, the borough will begin offering businesses and institutions decals that designate their workplaces as places of temporary refuge to anyone threatened with a hate crime.
“Every local business, social organization, or school in Monmouth County is eligible to participate in the program free of charge,” Linskey’s office said in a press release issued Thursday. “The only requirement is twofold: if a victim of any crime (especially a hate crime) enters the premises, call 911 immediately; and allow the victim to remain on the premises until police arrive.”
The program, dubbed Safe Spaces and modeled on one launched in Seattle in 2015, was one of two rolled out at an event held at the prosecutor’s office in Freehold Township Wednesday.
In the other, police departments are encouraged to participate in a LGBTQ+ Law Enforcement Liaison Program by having a department member or “ally” serve as a connection point between police and the LGBTQ+ community.
At Wednesday night’s workshop meeting of the Red Bank council, Mayor Pasquale Menna said Red Bank, Long Branch and Asbury Park were the first Monmouth County municipalities to join the Safe Places program, offered under the auspices of the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.
Through local businesses and organizations, he said, the three towns will be “harboring individuals who are at risk because of hate or bias incidents, especially LGBTQ+ individuals who have a need for assistance until the police arrive.
“It’s novel program that heightens our diversity as well as our progressivism,” Menna said.
According to Darren McConnell, the police chief and acting borough administrator, Red Bank has had one reported bias crime and one reported bias incident since January, 2019.
The police department does not yet have a designated LGBTQ+ liaison, but is polling its membership to see if anyone is interested in the role, McConnell said.
Meantime, he told redbankgreen, “the beauty of this program is that between the Prosecutor’s Office and the various municipal agencies, if one department does not have an official liaison officer, a member of another agency will assist when needed as well as assisting with community outreach.”
Here’s the full press release on the two programs: 10.07.LGBTQ+LE.SafePlace.FINAL
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