Mayor shifts police personnel to combat crime

Craig D. Frazier | 10/9/2014, 2:35 p.m.

Special to the AmNews

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka asked the New Jersey Civil Service Commission for permission to demote six of its eight deputy chiefs in an effort to put 70 percent of the police force on neighborhood streets. According to commission spokesman Peter Lyden, the demotions take effect Nov. 14

Baraka said that as captains, the officers can act as field supervisors. “We need our police personnel to be in the field with the men and women they command and interacting with the residents they are sworn to serve,” he said. “Having them in the street will increase the productivity of our force. Now that 21st century technology has transformed patrol cars into command centers, our supervisors can come out from behind their desks to manage and lead our police officers in person and by example.”

Earlier this summer, city officials announced that the department would start taking “neighborhood walks,” during which police officers, representatives from city agencies, members of the clergy and civic activists would walk around various sections of the city and talk to residents about problems in their neighborhoods.

“Reducing violence is the number one priority of my administration, and I want to assure the residents of Newark that the shooting incidents that have occurred in the last 36 hours have all been targeted shootings in concentrated areas,” said Baraka.

This past weekend, a man was killed and two people were wounded when shots rang out in Newark. In a separate incident, in the city’s North Ward, a man, whose name has not been released, was shot repeatedly after an argument. The suspect has yet to be identified and remains at large

Police Director Eugene Venable, Police Chief James Leal and the Newark Police Department are all working diligently with the Essex County prosecutor’s office to investigate these incidents and apprehend the assailants.