NEWARK, NJ - City and county officials today swore in 48 new officers into the city police division after the recruits spent about 25 grueling weeks at the Essex County Public Safety Academy in Cedar Grove.
The total number of police on the city's force is now 1,124 with this graduating class, a police spokeswoman said. Thirty-one of the graduates are female, while 29 are Latino, 17 are African-American and two are Caucasian.
Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said policing has evolved over the years and having positive interactions with the community are imperative. He emphasized the importance for police to have empathy and show their human side whenever possible.
"Have pride in what you do an be fair," he said during the ceremony at Donald M. Payne Sr. School of Technology. "Fairness is important. You're going to see people at their weakest moments. All they have left is their dignity. You don't want to take away their dignity."
Mayor Ras Baraka praised the class for being one of the most diverse: 96% are minority.
"We want to be an example for the way other departments should begin to organize themselves, particularly in cities like Newark," the mayor said.
Police Chief Darnell Henry reminded the new officers to never forget their sworn duty while they engage with the neighborhoods they work in.
"Finding a balance between community and engagement and enforcement is not always easy," he said.
Sheriff's officers and police from East Orange, Maplewood, Randolph, Midland Park were also sworn in. Police from Rutgers, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Essex County College also graduated today.
The following officers were sworn into the Newark Police Division:
Katherine Abreu; Jocelyn Allen; Katherine Almanzar; Adonis Aquino; Ana Barrera-Andeliz; Natalie Benavente; Jonuz Bojkovic; Amanda Cabrera-Lopez; Quelvi Castaneda; Jose Collazo, Jr.; Tianna Contreras; Cynthia Cosme; Ramon Cruz, Jr.; Roniqua Cureton; Benisa Davila-Vargas; Carlos DeLeon; Djamila De Oliveira; Kenija Dixon-Baldwin; Loramny Dominguez; Daniel Estremera; Wellesley Fraser; Brittany Graves; Kyle Hamlett; Leslie Jerez; Tajh Lee; Nakia Lewis; Victor Lopez, Jr. Stephanie Marte; Naseera Mayo-Waiters; Marquesa McCray; Luis Mejias; Stephanie Mendez; Andre Metz, Jr.; Kellie Muhammad; Yasilis Ortiz; Leslie Palomino; Arisleidy Pena; Owen Riley; Luis Rivera; Charae Ross; Briana Shanklin; Zachiah Smith; Dileidi Tamayo-Acosta; Sha-nette Tyson; Miguel Valentin; Bianca White; Ernest Williams; Lyonne Zapata