JERSEY CITY – Jersey City Mayor-Elect has announced plans to increase size of the next Jersey City Police Department recruitment class from 25 new recruits to 40. This recruitment class will begin this summer.
Due to several retirements over the past 18 months, the current size of the JCPD force is just under 800 officers, the smallest the department has ever been. A number of officers, including a handful of senior officers, have also announced plans to retire by the end of 2013, which will further reduce the size of the department.
“The Jersey City Police Department has been down too many officers for far too long,” Fulop said in a release issued Tuesday. “It’s time to start rebuilding the JCPD. I am committed to the safety of our residents as priority number one and having more officers on the streets, along with a restructuring of the department, will begin to reduce crime that plagues too many neighborhoods in our city.”
For the past year many residents have been requesting increased foot patrols in high crime areas.
Mayor-Elect Fulop told the Reporter the large number or retirements among senior members of the JCPD, who earned six-figure salaries, will offset the cost of the additional 15 new recruits who will be added the incoming police academy class. He also said he plans to add a second police academy class later this year.
The large turnover in JCPD leadership, he added, offers the city and the department an opportunity to change the culture within the police force.
“I am committed to a community-policing approach,” Fulop said in a press release. “Once these officers are sworn in, residents should expect to see them walking the beat.”
Urban Concerns, a new community group that plans to address an array of social issues, including crime, praised Fulop’s Tuesday announcement, and hoped the mayor-elect would use this opportunity to increase diversity within the JCPD.
“Urban Concerns applauds this proactive approach to increase the force,” Urban Concerns co-founder Bruce Alston said in a Facebook post. “We ask you to go one step further, not only be expanding the recruit class, but mandating that the recruits be minorities and women. A police force of 600-plus [currently] has only 42 African American officers, with only two being superior officers.” – E. Assata Wright