BRICK – Brick Township Police are launching a new program that could help remove some of the obstacles when it comes to responding to calls for service.
At a recent council meeting, Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero announced the launch of Project Safe Lock by the township police department. Project Safe Lock is a new program that provides a free lock box to residents that will be stowed away in a location known only to the homeowner and police.
According to Sgt. Jim Kelly, Project Safe Lock can be the answer to a dilemma many officers face when responding to secured residences.
“First Responders are often faced with the dilemma of entering a secured residence to render aid to someone who cannot get up to unlock the door. Efforts to enter the residence usually involved searching for emergency contacts or neighbors who can retrieve a key to unlock the door,” said Kelly. “But sometimes weighing the balance between waiting for a key and rendering emergency aid demands that the front door or a window be pried open to access the patient, thereby causing damage to the home.”
While some residents might choose to hide a key on their property for situations like these, more often than not, first responders can’t find the key in time.
“Project Safe Lock aims to address this dilemma, providing an option to get into a home quickly without causing damage,” said Kelly.
According to Brick Police, Project Safe Lock will be most helpful in assisting residents who, due to advanced age, mobility, medical concerns, and other housing circumstances, may be unable to answer their door in an emergency situation.
“Project Safe Lock utilizes a realtor’s style lock box which could be mounted to a door or railing of a home…A key, supplied by the resident, is locked in the box. When an emergency exists, responding Brick Twp. Police and EMS will retrieve this key by using a code which will be stored in our Dispatch Center,” stated Brick Police.
The lock box will be owned by Brick Police and free of charge to any eligible resident. To be eligible, the resident must:
- Live alone or be home alone on a frequent basis
- Be handicapped or have medical/physical conditions that make movement difficult
Participants in the program must fill out an application; provide a key, or keys, for an entry door to the home; grant the police permission to access and use the key in the event of an emergency; and complete and notarize a waiver form.
The application can be found on the Brick Police website, or by responding to the Community Policing Office at the Brick Township Police Department during regular business hours.
“If you should move, you must notify the Brick Twp. Police Department so that we may retrieve the lock box,” added police.
If police use the key for an emergency, the code for retrieval will be reset as a safety measure.
According to Sgt. Kelly, several businesses have already shown interest in donating to Project Safe Lock. Initial funding for the program was provided through a donation from Artis Senior Living. Artis Senior Living presented Chief James Riccio with a $2,500 check last week.
“The Brick Twp. Police Department believes Project Safe Lock will provide a safety mechanism for our community,” stated police.