Jersey City Police Department promotes 75 officers; one of most diverse groups in US

The Jersey City Police Department celebrated the promotion of 75 police officers on Tuesday. The group is considered to be one of the most diverse in the country.
The names of 20 captains, 20 lieutenants and 35 sergeants were read aloud during the ceremony at City Hall Plaza. Each officer was given a new badge, a handshake from Chief Mike Kelly and words of gratitude from Mayor Steve Fulop.
“While most cities have seen an uptick in crime, Jersey City hasn’t experienced that and that’s largely because of the great work that they do,” Fulop said.
Among those promoted Tuesday was Sgt. Alberto Vasquez. He is one of 13 Hispanic officers moving up in the ranks. In a city whose mayor boasts of being the most diverse in the country, Vasquez says that his heritage helps him in his police work.
“People can relate to me. When someone sees me from a Hispanic family, they’ll see me and say, ‘Oh, he’s from my land. Let me go speak to him,’” Vasquez says.
In addition to Vasquez, there were also two Arabic and two African American officers promoted.
The ceremony comes two weeks before the anniversary of the deadly shooting at a Kosher market in the Greenville section of Jersey City. Three civilians and Detective Joe Seals died in the shooting, which Attorney General Gurbir Grewal determined was motivated by anti-Semitism and anti-police ideations.
One of the memorable images from that day was of Marjorie Jones, an officer seen pulling away another officer while they were being shot at. Jones also received a promotion on Tuesday, to a large round of applause.
“We’ve all been eager to get an opportunity to promote her and let her get that moment of everyone saying, ‘Thank you,’” says Public Safety Director James Shea.
Following a review of the Kosher market shooting and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Jersey City Police Department has made some changes, according to officials.
“We’ve ended one-man police patrol cars. We now patrol only with two officers in a car,” says Shea, adding that this is for both the officers’ safety and for community relations.
City officials also say that they have improved communication with certain neighborhoods in Jersey City. The mayor says that the city has worked hard to make sure that the Kosher market incident does not define them.