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NJ Cops to Lawmakers: We Need More Manpower!

NJ Cops to Lawmakers: We Need More Manpower!

A Newark police officer from the most recent recruiting class, (he did not want to give his name) arrives at the 5th Precinct to turn in his gun and other items. He is part of the large group of officers affected by layoffs voted on by the city to cut cos

The Star-Leger via YellowBrix

February 08, 2011

TRENTON — Police and firefighters decried the wave of layoffs across New Jersey today, telling lawmakers there is no substitute for manpower in fighting crime and quickly responding to fires.

Newark Det. James Stewart, vice president of the city’s police union, said since Newark laid off 162 police officers, crime has spiked in the state’s largest city.

He said department figures from Dec. 4 to Jan. 30 showed increases of 50 percent in murders, 38 percent in robberies, 66 percent in shooting incidents, 118 percent in shooting victims and 400 percent in carjackings from the same period in the previous year.

A spokesman for the Newark Police Department would neither confirm nor deny the figures today.

“The mayor (Cory Booker) will tell anybody that will listen that the city of Newark will not miss a beat, the citizens will not know the difference,” Stewart told the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. “You cannot take the youngest, most aggressive cops away and think you’re not going to miss a beat.”

Senators and audience members were stunned to silence during the testimony of Kelly Walsifer, the 24-year-old fiancee of Christopher Matlosz, a Lakewood police officer slain in the line of duty on Jan. 14.

Speaking through tears, she described Matlosz as a dedicated, loving and cheerful man who excelled at his work, noting he had made the most DWI arrests in Lakewood for 2009.

“New Jersey lost a great hero that day — that’s an understatement,” she said. “I don’t want to get into politics, but the thought of laying off cops truly makes me sick to my stomach.”

Fire departments leaders today took Gov. Chris Christie to task.

“He continues to tell people that everything is fine and no one will perish,” said Elizabeth Deputy Fire Chief Lathey Wirkus. “And I’m here to tell you … that with the current reductions that we’re seeing in both police and fire, there will be increased life-loss — not only with civilians but with firefighters.”

Millburn Fire Chief Michael Roberts said that with statewide cuts, the need for mutual aid — calling in support from neighboring communities — would spike and further strain resources. He said that whenever a company is deployed out of town, the department can hire some overtime workers to fill in, but those costs are absorbed locally.

“The taxpayers of Millburn and Short Hills are part-funding the communities around us,” he said. “I don’t think anyone figures that into their local budgets.”

Several lawmakers said fire departments should consider regionalizing to save costs and maintain manpower.

Wirkus said consolidation has led to real improvements, but that progress could be hampered as those departments lose firefighters.

“We are holding everything together with bubblegum and maybe some glue,” Wirkus said. “And that’s the best we can do at this point.”

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Gov. Chris Christie is taking the Bull by the horns. Prayers out to Kelly Walsifer for holding the Line!

  • Meangreen01_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Cut the public safety budget, but God forbid anyone cut funds for libraries, parks, or other misc projects... business as usual.

  • 321910_276082379080571_275962482425894_1020326_77530166_o_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Interesting that public safety is usually always the first to get cut...Sad.. Bump Kelly, you're such a strong woman to beable to stand forward and fight for the brothers in blue

  • Globe_eagle_anchor_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I'm with swh417. I think unions need to look inward and ALSO HELP streamline things at departments. Police Chiefs AND City officials need to start telling people that we will no longer waste man-power and money on worthless calls. Sending a certified cop out for a stolen car stereo complaint, with no suspect info... nope, u can come to the station and a cadet, or desk officer will take down your information! You take away the mounds of BS cops deal with a day, you'll have your "man-power" back and fighting real crime.

  • Play_ball_4-6-09_010_max50


    over 4 years ago


    My thoughts and prayers are with the family and department. Also the police unions need to wake up and do some things too to help curb these layoffs. The free lunch is over in NJ.

  • Academyrun_014_max50


    over 4 years ago


    My thoughts are with those officers left to try and keep their sheep safe with half the staffing. Be careful my brothers/sisters. Hopefuly Trenton/Camnden NJ won't turn into something like the "Eascape from New York" film. Stay Safe!!

  • Nado_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I work in Law Enforcement and my father is a city councilman of a different city, he even proposed getting rid of all local officers and contracting out to the county, and the county advised the would accept the contract but will not hire anymore patrolman, my own father wanted to do that!! Like some of yall have said, they see dollar signs not reality, no matter the level of politician you are. As county as Oklahoma is we cant fix everything with duck tape and bailing wire.

  • Nj_508th_mp_co_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Open season has already started. I can't remember when NJ has had this many cover stories on policelink as we do now. But our Gov seems to be a hero nationwide. But from where I'm standing he's increased the ranks of the unemployed with me and several of my brothers & sisters as a result. Meanwhile the criminals are becoming more and more brazen with shootings of our LEO's.

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    over 4 years ago


    Lord knows all it will take is for something to happen to a polotician or his family before they start screaming "where were the police....oh yeah, we fired them.....oops, guess that was a slight over-sight that needs to be fixed." In any case, I know to send all my douche-bags to Jersey because open season has just been declared.

  • 041105-o-9999g-012_max50


    over 4 years ago


    When is the last time a polotician agreed or even volunteered to take a pay cut?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    These pols don't care about anything except the bottim line. They don't have to worry about crime in their safe, plushy, surburban homes. It's so sad they are trading the safety of the public to save a few dollars!!!

  • Mil_policemourn_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Unfortunately we have already lost thousands of LEO's due to political nonsense. Luckily many out of state departments have come to recruit and help out these fellow officers....many of whom are married with children, mortgages, bills, etc.

    Best of luck to those that have fallen victim to the political BS that seems to grip NJ

  • John_groh_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Isn't it amazing how the Politicians can find money for their pet prodjects and supporters but when the budget can't cover it the first thing they do is go after the Police an Fire Departments. It makes me sick. I really feel sorry for the Citizens of that state and the Officers and Firefighters who have to try to deal with the problems with very little. I hope we don't loose any of them because of this.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Best wishes for those officers and firefighters that are still on the job, stay safe.

  • Mil_policemourn_1__max50


    over 4 years ago


    Pretty soon it will look like the 'Ol Wild West.....might be able to meet John Wayne and "Blondie" (Clint Eastwood)

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