The Jersey City Police Department swore in 50 new police officers today at City Hall, increasing their ranks from 769 in 2013 to 945 as 50 new cadets enter the academy in the summer, ultimately raising the force to over 1,000 officers.
Mayor Steven Fulop and public safety officials highlighted that the new officers, 84 percent of whom make up a multi-ethnic and multi-religious class that speaks languages from around the world, as well as 15 women, will contribute to reversing violent crime – particularly as it relates to gun violence.
The mayor’s office noted that as the police force has been steadily increasing, along with the expansion of CCTV systems deployed in historically high-crime areas that enable police officers and police officials to view camera footage right from their smartphones, violent crime has gone down nearly 70 percent in those areas.
Back in December, Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea presented their annual end-of-the-year report on crime rates, saying that shootings and homicides in 2018 dropped to 69 and 15, respectively, from 96 and 20 in 2017 and 102 and 24 in 2016.
After the ceremony, Fulop and Shea took questions from the media.
“In the 12 years that I’ve served on the city council and as mayor, 16 years at the end of this term, this is the lowest rate of violent crime that I’ve ever seen. When you think about 2017 till today, we’ve seen close to a 70 percent reduction in shootings, homicides and victims, and we’re not going to stop until that is zero,” said Fulop.
We followed up to ask the mayor the total number of police officers he would like to add before his second term ends.
“We’re at 980 now, and we’re going to continue as the budget gets approved later this year to look to invest more in the police department. We’ve put more technology in place, we’ve put more cameras in place, we redid the 9-1-1 system, we have more social service programs in place, there’s a lot of components on why you have the reduction in crime, but what they’re doing is working and that’s something that every resident should be proud of.”
In a separate interview with Shea, he’s seeking to grow the department up to 1,050 officers as the city continues to grow.
“The mayor mentioned that we inherited a department that was very understaffed, and we’ve studied it and for a while the number that’s been in my head has been 1,050. I think that Jersey City has grown immensely in just the six years that I’ve been here, and it continues to grow,” began Shea.
“If I forecast future growth of the city, future responsibilities of the police department we’re going to need a slightly larger police department. But with retirements and attrition, it’s going to be difficult to get to that number for a while. So it’s our goal, but in the mean time right now we’re satisfied that we’re holding at about 950, and that we can keep it there while we try to grow.”
We followed up with the mayor by inquiring on how the new officers will help curb gun violence in the city.
“Every night we get a report on the guns that are taken off the streets, and it’s almost every night that police officers are removing illegal guns that somebody’s carrying with the intent to do something that’s not helpful to the community,” Fulop stated.
New Jersey City Police Officer Roxanne Aguilera, one of the 15 women joining the JCPD over the July 4 weekend and president of her academy class, told us she’s looking forward to both the opportunities and challenges of policing a city of 270,000.
“I’m looking forward to everybody seeing me in the streets, approaching me as being part of the community,” said Aguilera.
The new police officers who graduated from the Stamler Academy Class in Union are:
Bryant J. Rowan, Jr; Michael H. Minervini; Roxanne I. Aguilera; Lissette D. Mendez; David L. Weber; Anthony W. Mateo; Edward Tavarez; Satyam M. Gosai; Anjolie Nieves; Jocelyn Ocasio; Mina M. Bekhit; Christina L. Freeman; Shane P. Brown; Antonio R. Monroe; Thomas M. Hankerson; Herman L. Malabe; Christopher T. Fontanzez; Norhan A. Mansour; Andrew L. Abuan; Abigail Ortez; Shive Bhimdass; Robert Nunez; Lillian J. Ruiz; Ileana C. Anton; Justin J. Rivera; Sussy C. Avila; Rafael Sanchez; Hipolito Aldea, Jr.; Awais Pervaiz; Eddie F. Williams III; Jason W. Hill and Thalia C. Hernandez.
The new police officers who graduated from the Bergen County Academy Class in Hackensack are:
Jonathan M. Molesky; Bria S. Eatman; Valerie Paula; Wafana K. Bori; Deshawn L. Buie; Jovani G. Garcia; Philip R. Sanichar; Hendry Matias Aybar; Frank A. Sebastiano, Jr.; Javier J. Galarza; Brian M. Farrell; Hugh J. McDonnell II; Placido J. Sandoval; Mina A. Milek; Sarah M. Ibrahim; Enrique Vazquez and Anthony J. Arroyo.
We live streamed the entire graduation ceremony on our Facebook Page, which can be viewed below: