JERSEY CITY, NJ - In the wake of a remote access council meeting that had scores of residents calling for a 50 percent cut in funding for the police department, Mayor Steven Fulop attended the swearing in of new police officers.
“We swore in a class of 15 officers today,” Fulop said in a tweet.” These officers started the academy seven months ago and have worked hard. We made a commitment as did they and we will work together with the community to build trust and be a model,”
Fulop said all the new officers live in Jersey City, most were born and raised here, and 90 percent of them are minority officers. “These officers have been working w/community groups since they started and also were the people working at the Covid-19 testing sites during the height of the pandemic in New Jersey,” Fulop said.
Fulop joined Public Safety Director James Shea and Police Director Tawana Moody at the Thursday swearing in, a few hours after council members were barraged with on-line demands that the city defund its department.
The calls from residents demanded that the city rethink its approach to dealing with crime and to pay more attention to social justice issues. Fulop, however, said his administration has been committed to diversifying the department and that 70 percent of new officers hired since 2013 have been minorities
“From the mass shooting we faced in December to the challenges through the pandemic, the Jersey City Police Department is amongst the best in the country,” said Fulop. “Our police officers have built strong bonds in the community and working together we have been able to drive violent crime down to historic lows.”
He said last year, the City of Jersey City had its lowest homicide rate in 40 years.
The recruits joined the academy on December 9, 2019 and completed the full six months of training, the last six weeks of which was done virtually. When the academy was closed for several weeks due to the pandemic, the recruits volunteered to be on the frontlines assisting with operations at the city-run testing site outside of Public Safety Headquarters. The newest first responders experienced firsthand what it’s like to help the community during difficult times.
“These recruits have already been on the frontlines assisting the Police Department in critical situations. Just days after starting the academy, they assisted with Detective Seal’s funeral, and more recently they helped facilitate operations at the city-run testing sites while the academy was closed for several weeks during the peak of the pandemic,” said Director Shea. “While they’ve already experienced more than most recruits, I know they’re eager to get out into the community.”
Fulop said under his administration a total of 620 police officers have been hired, growing the department from merely 769 officers in 2013 to 950 officers today. The Administration has placed an emphasis on diversifying the ranks to better reflect the community it serves while restructuring the department to enhance public safety citywide.
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