Menendez Calls for Immediate Federal Funds for Newark Police

Menendez Calls for Immediate Federal Funds for Newark Police

Deadly Crime Wave Grips City Following Loss of 163 Police Officers

Washington -Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting expedited law enforcement funds for the Newark Police Department.

"The Newark Police Department urgently needs federal funding so that it may hire additional officers to replace those who were laid off. In response to the scourge of violence that is plaguing Newark, federal assistance is needed to supplement their crime-fighting efforts," said Senator Menendez.

Newark has seen a drastic rise in crime since budget limitations forced the city to release 163 police officers, the largest reductions in 32 years. Between Jan. 1 and July 10 of 2011, there were 175 shootings in Newark, leaving 213 people dead or injured, according to police statistics. During the same period last year, there were 125 shootings and 161 victims.

Mayor Cory Booker and Acting Police Director Samuel DeMaio is responding with his "Safe City" campaign, which seeks to increase police efforts and enhance community involvement in reducing crime. Events such as National Night Out, which is being held today, have helped police coordinate with local groups and community organizations to foster crime prevention. However, greater police presence is urgently needed, and continued budget limitations prevent the department from hiring additional officers.

Menendez sent a similar letter requesting assistance for Camden, New Jersey, earlier this year.

The full text of the letter is below:

August 2, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder

Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder,

I write to respectfully request that you consider expediting the delivery of federal law enforcement funds to the Newark Police Department and to ask for any emergency assistance that might be available to the Department.

As you know, Newark recently suffered its largest reduction in its police force in 32 years; 163 police officers were laid off. The city has seen an increase in gun violence and other violent crime resulting in too many senseless deaths and devastating tragedies. Between Jan. 1 and July 10 of 2011, there were 175 shootings in Newark, leaving 213 people dead or injured, according to police statistics. During the same period last year, there were 125 shootings and 161 victims.

An off-duty Newark Police Officer, William Johnson was killed in May, and just this past weekend, two young women, Debora Ferreira of Irvington and Dawn Reddick of Charlottesville, Virginia were killed. On just one morning in July, four people were injured when shots were fired and four hours later, 15-year-old Al-Aziz Stewart was killed and seven others were injured in a shooting.

The Newark Police Department, under the leadership of Mayor Cory Booker and Acting Police Director Samuel DeMaio, is doing its utmost to combat the wave of crime plaguing the city. As a result of the Department's efforts, there has been a recent increase in arrests and the recovery of illegal weapons. I understand from my conversations with local officials that the Newark Police Department has an excellent relationship with federal law enforcement and frequently receives assistance from federal agents in local investigations.

In addition to these current efforts to collaborate with the federal government, the Newark Police Department urgently needs federal funding so that it may hire additional officers to replace those who have been laid off. In response to the scourge of violence that is plaguing Newark, federal assistance is needed to supplement their crime-fighting efforts. I would appreciate any emergency assistance that can be offered. Specifically, the expedited release of COPS funding and Byrne JAG funding is critical to allow the police department to hire additional personnel.

The citizens of Newark should not have their safety compromised because of budget concerns. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to working with you on this important matter.

Sincerely,

SENATOR ROBERT MENENDEZ

###

Press Contact

Menendez Press Office: 202-224-4744