In light of the recent shootings that occurred around Memorial Day weekend on West Side Avenue in Jersey City, residents pleaded with local police to get rid of “unsavory characters” in the neighborhood at a Ward B public safety meeting.
“There are grown men hanging out on West Side Avenue, all day and all night. We would like them moved. We don’t know why they can’t be moved. We don’t know why we’re subjected to them” stated West Side Community Alliance President Jodi Drennan.
Jersey City Police West District Capt. Michael Kelly responded “We immediately put four more cops down here to supplement the two” right after the shootings.
Kelly also mentioned that there they added K-9 units, and placed a dozen police officers to improve the quality of life on West Side Avenue.
“We were very successful in putting a dozen police officers down here that let people know, I’m talking about the element that desire to be less than ruly, that we were not going to tolerate that.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop also told the West District residents that maximizing police visibility and response time is top priority.
“We cannot grow the department faster than we are and we are growing in a very fast pace. Every single one of those officers goes to the South and West district. The class that graduated last week, same thing. Down to the South and West because it’s the best way for them to learn and get involved with the community.”
The second major topic was the installation of closed circuit cameras of which, the residents claim they have been awaiting for at least 5 years.
“We allocated $1.1 million, in the budget right now, out of the police budget, and we are also trying to get money from the OEM, the emergency management, to fully revamp and bid out late this year, both the South District and the West District’s full cameras.”
Although neither Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro nor the mayor could provide the exact date of the installation of the cameras, both reassured that they are now in the RFP process.
“But we are committed with the dollars and we are committed to doing it” stated Fulop.
Also in attendance were Jersey City Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2), Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, Acting Chief of Investigations from Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Gene Rubino, JCPD Deputy Chief Joseph Connors, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31), Jersey City Councilwoman-at-Large Joyce Watterman and Jersey City Ward B Councilman John Hallanan.