KIYC: Injured Newark PD recruit gets second chance

The Newark Police Department officially welcomed its new class of police recruits, including one member who is getting a second chance after she got Kane in her Corner.

Andy Santana is one of 51 new recruits who attended the city's welcome ceremony at Abyssinian Baptist Church. But Santana has had to work a little harder than most of her classmates to get there. First, she had to recover from an on-the-job injury that forced her out of the academy a year ago, then she had to overcome a state bureaucracy that placed her in limbo.

Kane In Your Corner first exposed Santana's plight in January. She'd attended the Newark Police Academy in 2014, but suffered a broken hip in a training accident. Newark police, impressed with her performance prior to the injury, offered her a medical deferral and promised to let her attempt academy training again once she fully recovered. But when Santana's recovery was complete, the New Jersey Civil Service Commission said her hiring list had expired, which meant her spot in the academy was gone too.

Santana says her faith sustained her when it looked her dream of working in law enforcement might be over. It gave her the discipline to keep working out every day through the winter, lifting weights and running outdoors in freezing conditions. "This was my dream, and I was going to fight for it," she says.

After Kane In Your Corner's report aired, Newark police officials took up Santana's cause, working with her to make sure she could get another shot. Newark Police Chief Anthony Campos says she deserves it. "Not only did she go through this once, and was injured, but she fought tooth and nail every day to get back in. And someone like that is who I want riding next to me, covering my back."

Santana says "I feel blessed that God and the city of Newark gave me another opportunity" and says her goal is "to make the city and my family proud."

This is the first of three classes of Newark police recruits slated to attend the Essex County Police Academy this year, bringing in up to 150 new officers to the force. Newark police officials say between the 2010 layoffs and additional jobs lost through attrition, the department is short about 300 officers and that the additional manpower is badly needed.

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