‘Up to the challenge’

Hopewell Township police experience 30% increase in calls for service and traffic stops in 2023

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ANDREW HARRISON/STAFF
Hopewell Township to search for a temporary police director to lead the police department. 

The Hopewell Township Police Department (HTPD) has released the department’s annual report, which includes data and statistics detailing the department’s activity for 2023.

In the 33-page report, the department, which serves the township and Hopewell Borough, experienced a 30% increase in calls for service, or 26,802 calls, last year.

Compared to 2022, the number of traffic stops conducted by officers rose by 30% to 7,740 for 2023.

The department analysis broken down by race states that 79% of traffic stops were white drivers, 15% African American, 5% Asian Pacific Islander and 1% American Indian. Additionally, 88% of the traffic stops were non-Hispanic and 12% Hispanic.

The report is an overview of department implemented programs, use of force statistics, statistics and analysis on traffic stops, information on the department’s Professional Standards Unit and complaints filed, and community engagement efforts by the department.

“As the Hopewell Valley community continues to change and expand in population size, so too will our services,” Police Chief James Rosso said in the report’s message. “In 2023 we saw an increase of over 30 percent in our calls for service, including Hopewell Borough, answering nearly 27,000 calls.

“We’ll continue to prioritize our service to this great community and invest in our team to ensure that level of professionalism is met. Thank you to both Hopewell Township and Hopewell Borough committees for your support of our mission.”

Rosso expressed that the police department is “up to the challenge of continuing that legacy and level of service into the future to answer the changing needs of our community.”

The issuance of motor vehicle summonses rose to 3,430, a 40% increase from the previous year.

Domestic violence incidents rose in 2023 with 65 domestic violence reports. Additionally, the police department had 94 mental health calls with the average time on call at one hour and 30 minutes, according to the report.

The department made 163 arrests, had 11 use of force incidents, and two vehicle pursuits.

For the use of force incidents and vehicle pursuits, the report states, “All of these incidents were reviewed by the immediate supervisor, as well as the Professional Standards Unit and the chief of police. All were found to be in compliance with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and Department Policy.”

There were 15 complaints filed against officers with the police department’s Professional Standards Unit.

Nine of the 15 complaints were made by civilians. Four complaints included improper demeanor by officers, another four complaints for policy violations and one complaint of differential treatment.

Six complaints came internally for violations of department rules and regulations.

The police department implemented several new programs including the CAPTURE and Drone program.

The CAPTURE program is a voluntary community camera partnership program which allows HTPD to identify any cameras near the scene of a crime in a specific neighborhood that may have potential captured footage.

The program is not an active surveillance program and the department does not have direct access to any registered surveillance system, according to the report.

The HTPD Drone Unit has three DJI drone models with a different purpose. They also have a Matrice 30T, medium size Mavic 3T, and two small Avata which aid in efforts such as communications, and search and rescue.