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Newark officials announce new police, fire training center

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NEWARK -

Officials in Newark have announced a new police and fire training center coming to the city.

An abandoned and fire-ravaged school behind in the city’s south ward will soon be a hub of police and firefighter activity.

City officials announced today they will build a new, state-of-the-art police and fire safety complex on the lot, which means tearing down the building and putting up a facility occupied and operated by Newark's Department of Public Safety.

“This is long overdue,” says Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose. “It's never been done under one roof - the training of police and fire. The most critical training is police and fire, and the training is continuous.”

According to Mayor Ras Baraka, the $49 million project could be completed as soon as 18 months from now.

The center will include a community area, state-of-the-art auditorium, a running track up on the roof, and a place where police can track crime stats in real time.

Newark lost its state authorization to train police officers in 2010 and has been sending recruits to Essex County, Passaic County and to the State Police training facility in Sea Girt.

The facility in Sea Girt was the only place in the state that could train at one time all 200 of the recruits Newark brings in for a new recruit class.

Mayor Baraka says as soon as the facility is built, there should be no reason for the state not allowing Newark to train its own cops.

“It adds to police presence immediately, to see not only Newark police, hopefully our academy is so nice other folks want to train in Newark as well and other departments from across the state send their officers,” says Mayor Baraka.

The mayor touted what he said was lower crime and more cops and firefighters on the street in the last four years.

Voters will decide on his record one week from Tuesday, in the election where Baraka is seeking a second term against Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins.

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