NEWARK, NJ - State, county and local officials gathered at the Essex County Sheriff’s Patrol Headquarters on Thursday, where the new modern facility for county police patrol operations was officially opened in Newark’s West Ward.

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., and Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura were joined by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose, State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, West Ward Councilman Joseph McCallum, Jr., and North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, among others, to help mark the much-anticipated opening.

The new Sheriff’s Patrol Headquarters is located at the corner of Market Street and Myrtle Avenue and is across the street from the Essex County Donald M. Payne School of Technology that is currently under construction.

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The Patrol Division offices had been housed in the Parks Administration Building on Clifton Avenue across from Branch Brook Park since the building first opened in 1916 and will be relocated to the new facility.

The one-story, 8,000-sq.-ft. building is a fully-functioning police station with holding cells, locker rooms for officers, a roll call area for officers to gather at the start of their shifts, expanded storage areas for records, evidence and equipment, a conference room and offices.

Construction of the building was funded through the Essex County Capital Budget and was designed by Comito Associates of Newark, while Aps Contracting was awarded a publicly-bid contract for $3,585,285 to construct the building.

The building was completed in just seven months—one month ahead of schedule.

DiVincenzo said the facility would help law enforcement efforts and have a positive impact on the surrounding community.

“This is going to improve the entire area,” DiVincenzo said. “Our officers have been working from the same building for the last 100 years and have simply outgrown their current space. This new police building is a state-of-the-art facility that will help our officers conduct their duties more efficiently and meet the growing demands that are placed on our law enforcement officials.”

Fontoura noted the strategically-located Patrol Division headquarters would further propel the department into 21st century community policing.

“Community policing is about bringing the police closer to the residents, and this new building will be a focal point for the neighborhood,” Fontoura said. “Our great city's West Ward will now have a centrally located precinct that will be fully staffed by our Patrol Division detective bureau and our county-wide traffic bureau. The facility will be fully equipped with all the most modern public safety and crime prevention tools.”

Baraka noted the project would help bring security and stability to the area.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” Baraka said. “I count this as a part of the development of the City of Newark. I know the County Executive has worked tirelessly to make this project happen and we were pleased to transfer ownership of city-owned property to Essex to help with the footprint of the Sheriff’s Building and the school next door. I’m happy about this because it fits with our economic development initiatives and will make people in this neighborhood feel safe.”

Ruiz noted the transformation of the area.

“A true metamorphosis has occurred on this property with the construction of the Donald Payne School and the opening of this police building,” she said. “The promises that the County Executive has made are becoming reality.”

McCallum said the facility would provide a much-needed boost to the area.

“Joe DiVincenzo is the best in the game,” McCallum said. “He always does what he says and does it with integrity. We know for years this has been a blighted neighborhood and this Sheriff’s Building, along with the new vocational school across the street, will help property values go up. You are transforming this neighborhood.”

DiVincenzo said the new facility will provide officers with what they need to keep communities safe.

“We want to make sure our Sheriff’s Officers have the proper resources to help keep us safe, and this new facility provides the room they need to operate,” DiVincenzo said. "I love this city. This city has so much potential."