Jersey City Chief Municipal Prosecutor and Ward E council candidate Jake Hudnut is attacking incumbent James Solomon over his “out of touch perspective” on local policing, claiming his approach to public safety would make the city less safe.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We need to invest in 21st Century Policing techniques to continue the progress that has been made in making Jersey City safer, not pursue the devastating cuts to public safety that Councilman Solomon supports that would put our neighborhoods at risk,” Hudnut, who is running on Mayor Steven Fulop’s ticket, said in a statement.
“Defunding our police department and laying off officers like Councilman Solomon wants will not make us safer. We need to invest in de-escalation training programs, body cameras, and hiring more young, diverse officers who live in the neighborhoods where they work. Councilman Solomon’s plan for policing in Jersey City will do nothing to make our city safer and every resident should be alarmed by his out of touch perspective on this critical issue.”
While critics have often accused Solomon of calling to defund the police in the wake of George Flood’s murder last summer, he never used that language leading up to the August 16th, 2020 budget vote where he and Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro voted no.
The duo had proposed redirecting $5 million from public safety into community programs, which would not have required laying off police officers, but the council opposed that measure 7-2.
As Hudnut has said previously, he would liked to see the JCPD increase foot patrols, learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as part of their de-escalation training, and expressed support for a statewide mandate that makes body cameras mandatory for officers on duty.
Jersey City Police Officer Benevolent Association President Joe Cossolini said he supports Hudnut’s plan.
“I applaud Prosecutor Hudnut for his bold, yet common-sense plan. An investment in police training is an investment in the community,” he said in a statement.
“Our officers strive every day to be better for the citizens of our community which needs us to serve and protect now more than ever. We owe it to them to be better and training is the only way to improve.”
Solomon’s campaign declined to comment, though pointed to a June 16th, 2020 email blast from the councilman to detail his position on policing.
“I want to focus not on slogans but on what our city needs. We do need a strong police department,” Solomon wrote in a June 16th, 2020 email blast.
“And just as much, we need a strong health and human services department to respond to pandemics; a recreation department that lifts up our young people; and community-led anti-violence initiatives that interrupt conflicts before they spiral out of control. The current budget gives us much of the former, and painfully little of the later.”
The non-partisan Jersey City municipal elections are on November 2nd and the Ward E debate, hosted by Hudson Media Group, streams live tomorrow at 6 p.m.