Newark's public safety chief discusses crime plans

The city of Newark recently combined its fire, police and office of emergency management into one department.

The city of Newark recently combined its fire, police and office of emergency management into one department. (1/16/16)

NEWARK - The city of Newark is changing the way it will fight crime in 2016.

The city recently combined its fire, police and office of emergency management into one department.

Anthony Ambrose, the head of the city's Public Safety Department, now finds himself in charge of those 2,500 employees.

Ambrose was born and raised in Newark and has been with the police department for 20 years. After 10 years with Essex County, primarily as chief of detectives, Mayor Ras Baraka asked Ambrose to head up a new, streamlined Public Safety Department.

"Last year, we had 378 shootings in the city, predominantly in the south, west and central wards," Ambrose says. "Mainly over personal disagreements over drugs."
To fight crime, he says, more officers are needed. "I want 150 cops hired right away," he says. "I want strategies to reduce violence."

Ambrose says he intends to begin Newark's annual Safe Summer Initiative in April. It begins by serving existing warrants.

He says his first priority will be to send more officers to the precincts and combine more police units with the prosecutor's office.

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