Newark hopes to bolster police ranks with class of 50 recruits

By Vernal Coleman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on September 17, 2015

NEWARK — City officials welcomed a class of 50 police recruits into the fold Thursday at a midday ceremony at City Hall.

The group, made up of 31 men and 19 women, represent another in what Mayor Ras Baraka has said will be a series of staffing additions to a department that has yet to fully recover since 160 sworn officers were laid off in 2010.

Those that survive the six months of training will officially join the force in 2016, adding to the 986 sworn officers currently employed by the department. A class of 51 police recruits currently receiving police academy training is expected to join the department even sooner.

Police Director Eugene Venable took to the podium in the packed municipal council chamber to both praise the recruits for choosing public service, and to remind them of the expectations that accompany it.

"You took this job because you want to serve a purpose," Venable said. "You want to serve the citizens of Newark. You can have that impact on your community. We're expecting you to be role models."

Venable was joined by Police Chief Anthony Campos, members of the city's Municipal Council and Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray, who informed the group they had the support of the prosecutor's office.

If successful, the recruits will join a department facing both internal and external challenges.

In July, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report alleging widespread civil rights abuses and disproportionate targeting of African-Americans.

The agency is currently in the process of choosing a monitor that will oversee a range of reforms to its disciplinary and training systems.

The city also continues to grapple with a recent surge in street violence officials have said underscores the police department's staffing woes. Last month, city officials temporarily reassigned 115 police administrators to street duty following a raft of fatal and non-fatal shootings.

Police Chief Anthony Campos advised the recruits that, like the department itself, they too will face significant pressure in the coming months.

"We live in a time of diminished resources," he told them, adding that the city's investment in them comes attached what "significant responsibility."

"You're being trusted with the most sacred of duties, that is to protect and serve your fellow citizens," he said.

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment