Princeton Police want to hear from you.
What are the issues in town, what should be a priority for the police and how can the department best serve its residents and businesses?
To find out, the newly consolidated police department will conduct a town-wide survey during the months of March and April. The survey will take 5-10 minutes to complete. The survey will be available on SurveyMonkey.com and through the police department website.
Residents and businesses can submit their responses online, via social media or in person, as police will be canvassing 50-75 homes and businesses within each of the five patrol sectors in town to get in-person responses.
"We want to be open to the community, we don't want to be the type of police department where we drive down the street and stay in our cars," Princeton Police Chief David Dudeck said.
The goal of the survey? Prevent problems before they occur.
"The only way for us to understand concerns is to hear them," Dudeck said.
The survey will also help achieve one of the promises of consolidation- enhancing services and creating a more responsive government, Mayor Liz Lempert said.
Members of the police department's newly formed Safe Neighborhoods Unit, whose members include Sgt. Jon Bucchere, Off. Leonard Thomas and Off. Dan Federico, will conduct the in-person surveys. A Spanish-speaking officer will also be available.
"These officers will be going out, going door to door and finding out what services you want them to provide," Princeton Police Commissioner Heather Howard said.
The police will likely follow up with another survey in a year, if not sooner.
There are no plans to include Princeton University students who live on campus in the in-person survey, although they are encouraged to take the online survey, Dudeck said. Off campus employees and students living off campus will be included.
As for what the survey is likely to show, Traffic Safety Officer Sgt. Thomas Murray knows that traffic will be a top issue. What's different now is that Murray now has two dedicated officers who can address problems before they become worse.
"Before, it was a constant battle to stay afloat," Murray said.
In the past, both Princeton Borough Police and Princeton Township Police departments had a version of a Safe Neighborhoods Unit, but had to eliminate them due to declining budgets, Lempert said.
And while no decision has yet been about a final staffing number for the consolidated police department, even at the lower recommendation of 51 officers, the model includes a Safe Neighborhoods Division, Howard said.