Newark mayor urges 56 newly promoted officers to fill 'vacuum of leadership'

By Marisa Iati | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on January 31, 2017

NEWARK -- The city police department promoted 56 members Tuesday as it is working to rebuild its ranks after losing more than 500 officers to layoffs and attrition since 2010. 

The promotions of four captains, 23 lieutenants and 29 sergeants come as the force plans to add 23 officers in March and bring 216 recruits to the police academy in August.

"We are absolutely committed to restoring our police department to its former strength," Mayor Ras Baraka said at a ceremony at Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in the city's North Ward.

Newark's police force has been under the yoke of federal monitor since a judge in May approved a far-reaching consent degree meant to improve civil rights practices in the 1,032-member department. 

Baraka urged the officers being promoted Tuesday to fill what he called a "vacuum of leadership" in the city.

"Leadership is needed in this very difficult moment, in this hour, in this second of history," he said.  

Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose and Police Chief Darnell Henry also presided over the ceremony. 

The department in August elevated 68 officers, a group officials said was the largest to be promoted in more than a decade. In July, 135 police recruits began training to join Newark's force.

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