Newark police officers hit the streets looking for new recruits

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Members of the Newark Police Department hit the streets Monday trying to entice city residents to join the force.

“We don’t have to be out here, but this is where we want to be,” says Officer Idell Robinson.

Newark, like many other police departments around the country, is having a hard time finding new recruits. The economy is doing well and unemployment is low. The "War on Drugs" and highly publicized police shootings have also created some mistrust of police officers in places like Newark.

Newark police officers say that the key to building trust is hiring from within the community – so officers set up on Board and Market streets in the center of Newark to find new recruits.

One potential recruit is 21-year-old Dashawn Stewart.

“I've thought about it plenty of times as a kid, watching ‘CSI Miami’, ‘Criminal Justice’, ‘Law and Order,’ so it inspired me to be it and this is my opportunity to become what I want to be,” Stewart says.

Stewart says that he wants to help the people in his community who are in need.

There were some skeptics who came by. One woman told Robinson that she flat out does not trust the police.

“We have to break the cycle of mistrust with police and this is one of our efforts right here – a massive recruitment effort in order to get people and be more inclusive and involved in the police department,” Robinson says.

The Newark Police Department has been under a federal consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice since 2016, requiring it to improve policies, training and community relations to end an alleged pattern of unconstitutional practices.

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