After almost three decades the Ocean Grove Citizen’s Patrol has ceased operations.
Jan Sotnikoff, president of the volunteer organization, made the announcement.
Founded by resident Ben Douglas in 1990 due to an increase in the crime rate and the robbery of his son, the OGCP began patrolling the streets with 12 members, becoming an extra set of eyes and ears for the Neptune Police Department.
The patrol faced many challenges in the early years but eventually earned the respect of town and county officials and served under four police chiefs in Neptune. The OGCP grew to 144 active members and was trained by the Neptune Police Department under the direction of then Police Chiefs James Ward and Howard O’Neil to handle any traffic situation in many different scenarios.
The OGCP also aided surrounding towns when traffic direction was needed for events when towns did not have the full complement of officers needed or the overtime monies. These included neighboring Bradley Beach and Avon Many Ocean Grove organizations relied on the Citizen’s Patrol for parades, 5K runs, flea markets, Auditorium events and security.
The patarol has been lauded by state, county, and local governments for their accomplishments and aid and was always available to lend a hand. The OGCP was the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Volunteerism and has received proclamations and resolutions from Neptune for their help in many situations and years of service.
The OGCP was solely funded by the generous residents of Ocean Grove through the yearly fundraiser. The OGCP has actively tried to recruit new members as the number of dedicated volunteers has been dwindling. Support from local officials has not been as strong as in previous years which prompted the Executive Board to decide that the OGCP has served it’s mission purpose of citizens protecting citizens.
Sotnikoff said the patrol proudly served the community for 29 years and is the longest running patrol in the history of New Jersey.
“On behalf of the OGCP Executive Board we would like to thank all of you who generously donated to the OGCP for many years to keep us on the road,” Sotnikoff said in a statement. “ Finally, a special thanks to all our members who unselfishly dedicated their time and effort to making the OGCP a great organization helping to keep our neighborhood a safer place to live.”