Newark police hope to add 126 officers to force

By Dan Ivers | NJ Advance Media, for
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on August 11, 2014

In this file photo, Newark police recruits line up before a welcoming ceremony in 2009. The department is hoping to add another 126 officers as part of an increased budget in 2014.


NEWARK — Police officials are asking the city to add 126 officers to the force as part of next year's budget.

According to documents presented to the City Council at a hearing Friday, Police Director Eugene Venable and Chief Anthony Campos are hoping to increase the total number of officers from 1,013 to 1,139, and add another 45 civilian employees to the department.

The proposed additions come as part of a $137 million request to the city, which would represent a two percent increase over the department’s current budget of $134.3 million.

Among other increases included in the proposal are a $1.08 million hike for equipment repair and maintenance, and $21,000 for increases in officer training and related travel expenses.

The decision to whether the grant the extra funds will fall to the City Council, which is already tasked with finding revenue to close a $90 million deficit, which includes a shortfall from 2013 that had to be rolled into the current fiscal year.

Last week, the council approved a resolution by Mayor Ras Baraka to seek financial assistance from the state to help address the budget crisis, which would be delivered in exchange for oversight of the city’s finances.

While the likelihood of adding new officers remains unclear, Baraka has pledged to spare the city’s police and fire departments from any cuts. In 2010, budget issues forced officials to lay off 167 officers.

In comments made at a press conference last month, the mayor said his push to place more officers on the street would likely result in the closing of some of the department’s specialized units. New training programs, many of which could be mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice as part of an agreement to institute reforms in the force, could also place additional demands on the force’s budget, he added.

“We may have to move some officers and get them in the neighborhoods where they belong,” he said. “We’re going to have to open up some classes as well, which means we’re going to have to find money.”

Venable could not immediately be reached for comment.

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