Star Ledger: Newark welcomes 72 police recruits
In a passionate 10-minute speech, Booker told the recruits they were “modern-day freedom fighters” on the vanguard of Newark’s struggle to overcome a chronic crime problem. “I don’t need police officers who aren’t willing to be heroes,” he said.
With murders and shootings down in 2007, Booker said he is squeezing the budgets of other departments in his cash-strapped city so he can afford to hire more officers (who cost, on average, about $100,000 a year, including salary and benefits). He pledged to induct an even bigger class of recruits later this year.
“This is our year, 2008,” Booker said “We’re taking the city back this year.”
The 72 recruits barely make up for the 60 or so officers who retired or left the department last year.
Thanks to reporter Jonathan Schuppe for helpfully pointing out turnover in the NPD, a question I’ve been wondering about. He goes on to note that the Police Director McCarthy needs 240 more recruits to bring the department in line with his expectations to protect the city — a required growth of over 22%.