Newark, NJ - March 1, 2010 - Mayor Cory A. Booker, the Newark Municipal Council, Police Director Garry F. McCarthy, and other Newark dignitaries swore in the 54 members of the 115th Newark Police Recruit Class as members of “Newark’s Finest” at a Metropolitan Baptist Church ceremony today, capping 23 weeks of training for the 45 males and nine female members of the class. The ceremony kicked off with all 54 police recruits marching in cadence from the Oscar Miles Complex on Court Street up Broome Street to the church entrance on Springfield Avenue.
During his remarks, Mayor Booker noted that this graduation class has doubled the number of recruits compared to the previous administration. Some 304 police recruits have gone through the Academy, including this class, under the Booker Administration. The force now has 1,337 officers.
“A lot of sacrifices went into getting more police officers on our streets. While other municipalities are laying off police officers, my administration has remained committed to the mission of public safety,” said Mayor Booker. “Today we rejoice. We graduated a class of more than 50 officers from our community, and they have dedicated their lives to our safety. They will go into high-crime areas right away, where the narcotics trade is going on, so we as a City should be very proud,” Mayor Booker said.
Of the 54 recruits in the class, 45 are male and nine female. They break down ethnically as follows: Males: 17 Latino, 10 African-American, 18 Caucasian. Females: six African-American and three Latina.
Police Director McCarthy reminisced about his own graduation from the New York City Police Academy in 1981. “Days like today take me back to the early, defining moments of my Police career,” he said. “The world of policing has changed dramatically since I graduated from the academy, and the mission was not half as difficult as today. Today police officers no longer solve crimes. They prevent crimes. You will save lives. You will make a difference. Every single day, you make a difference when you walk out the door.”
Twelve of the new officers have family connections on the Department. In addition, two new officers, Sasskayo T. Palmer and Jimmy Rodriguez, worked for the City before entering the Academy. A list of the names and family connections of all recruits is attached.
At the ceremony, City Clerk Robert Marasco and Deputy City Clerk Kenneth Louis administered the oaths of office to the recruits who were individually congratulated after being sworn in by Mayor Booker and Director McCarthy. Recruits who excelled in various phases of the 23-week training program, such as firearms, academics, physical fitness, and character, were given awards for their achievements. A list of awardees is attached.
“I thank you for answering the call of duty to keep our City streets safe,” said South Ward Council Member Oscar James II, on behalf of his Council colleagues. “These young men and women have stepped up to the plate to make a difference and make life better for others in a role where they will be saving lives. I challenge other members in the audience today to step up to answer the call to community service.”
“I was inspired by the words that Mayor Booker and Director McCarthy had to say. They made me even prouder to be a member of the Newark Police Department,” said newly-graduated Police Officer Kenneth L. Poggi, who won the Academic Award for the highest academic average. “While the Police Academy was very challenging, the task ahead is even more challenging, but I am committed to the City and making it safer for residents.
“I was surprised when they called my name to receive my award,” said Officer Sasskayo Palmer, who topped the nine female recruits by earning the highest Physical Training score. “The training was very rigorous, but I’m very competitive. I was aiming to get the highest score. I will continue to do the same when I’m out in the field.”
Police service is in the blood for Officer Jose Padilla, who received the Clarence Cook Award for marksmanship. His sister is 17-year veteran Officer Roxanne Rivera, and their father is Essex County Undersheriff Jessie Padilla. “I’m a proud father,” said Jessie Padilla. “We’re all doing our part as a family to make Newark a safer City.”
“My father inspired me to be a police officer,” said Officer Padilla. “I hope to live up to my father’s achievements.”
For Newark Detective Brian Logan, Sr., the graduation of his son, Brian Logan, Jr., was the continuation of a family history of service with the Newark Police Department. Detective Logan’s father was one of the earliest African-Americans to serve in the Department. “I am proud that my son decided to continue the family legacy. My father would be very proud of his grandson today.”
“I was inspired by what the Mayor and Police Director McCarthy said,” Officer Logan, Jr., said. “I will do my part to both keep Newark safe and uphold our family legacy.”
Under the Booker Administration, the City of Newark has formed several new partnerships and launched numerous new initiatives and policing strategies. Since 2006, the Newark Police Foundation has raised thousands of dollars in philanthropic donations to support the purchase and deployment of new crime-fighting technology, including the deployment of more than one hundred wireless video surveillance cameras, a sonic gunshot detection system, a new state-of-the-art emergency services vehicle and the operation of the City’s “Crime Stopper” and “Gun Stopper” anonymous tip lines. The City is now building a new 5th Precinct in the South Ward, and moving to build other new station houses.
Anyone with information about any crime in Newark is urged to call the Department’s 24-hour “Crime Stoppers” anonymous tip line at 877 NWK-TIPS (877 695-8477) or 877 NWK-GUNS (877 695-4867). Tips leading to arrests and indictments could result in cash rewards of up to $2,000 to the person who provides the information or $1,000 per gun for calls into the gun hot line. Since the program began police have received more the 3,190 calls and paid out more than $70,000 in reward money resulting in more than 220 arrests, the recovery of 94 guns, and the confiscation of more than $245,000 worth of illegal narcotics.
For more information about all City of Newark programs, policies, and initiatives, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.