Newark police: No officer fired a single shot in 2020, thanks to de-escalation program

Newark police and city officials say a de-escalation training program is working, especially in a year faced with challenges.

News 12 Staff

Dec 31, 2020, 1:38 AM

Updated 1,244 days ago

Share:

Newark police and city officials say a de-escalation training program is working, especially in a year faced with challenges.
Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose says 2020 was the roughest year in his 34-year career in law enforcement.
Six of their 1,100 officers lost their lives to COVID-19 with dozens more officers sick after being exposed on the job.
They also faced major challenges during the summer's anti-police brutality protests.
Through it all, Ambrose says not one officer in the city fired his or her weapon while on duty in 2020.
"It was the unknown. It was the unknown that you didn’t know with this disease that you were coming here every day, and these police officers and firefighters going out there, and we didn't know," says Ambrose.
For Newark police, it was a year of COVID-19 fears, obstacles and losses.
“We lost six police officers and going to six funerals, it all wears on you," Ambrose says.
There was also the major tension on the streets of the city, following the death of George Floyd.
“We had protests, and they tried to take over of one of our precincts," Ambrose says.
2020 was tough for the Newark Police Department. But despite all of that, top brass report an impressive statistic to round out 2020.
Ambrose says not one police officer fired a weapon in 2020. He credits a de-escalation program implemented in Newark two years go.
"These things, it takes time for it to work. And I think it worked," Ambrose says.
Overall crime was down 6% this year. The city saw 51 homicides, the same as 2019. Non-fatal shootings were up in the city, and 61 of them had multiple victims.
But more guns were taken off the streets. Police officers recovered 496 illegal firearms, a 7% increase over last year when officers took 461 illegal weapons off the street.
"I'm proud of the men and women of Newark police division who took the guns off the street this year. Didn't fire a shot, came to work during a pandemic, arrested people with guns during the pandemic," Ambrose says.
Ambrose says the true test of that training was on May 30 during a Black Lives Matter protest in which about 1,700 people swarmed a precinct in an attempt to take it over. Not one shot was fired during the incident and nobody was severely injured.
Last year, police fired five shots, but there are no details on whether that was at one incident or multiple.


More from News 12
2:40
Menendez bribery trial: ‘Missing’ juror causes delay; prosecution to focus on woman still 'friendly' with co-defendants

Menendez bribery trial: ‘Missing’ juror causes delay; prosecution to focus on woman still 'friendly' with co-defendants

2:14
Sunny today with highs near 80 in New Jersey; tracking spotty showers on Wednesday

Sunny today with highs near 80 in New Jersey; tracking spotty showers on Wednesday

2:09
Chaotic Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey Shore leads to stabbing, curfew

Chaotic Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey Shore leads to stabbing, curfew

0:14
Fire chief: No injuries in Plainfield house fire

Fire chief: No injuries in Plainfield house fire

1:25
Friday's preholiday travel breaks the record for the most airline travelers screened at US airports

Friday's preholiday travel breaks the record for the most airline travelers screened at US airports

0:52
Tips to stay healthy while traveling this summer

Tips to stay healthy while traveling this summer

0:39
New Jersey Turnpike Authority proposes modernizing 8 miles of road from Newark to Jersey City

New Jersey Turnpike Authority proposes modernizing 8 miles of road from Newark to Jersey City

0:22
Police: Missing Neptune Township teen found safe

Police: Missing Neptune Township teen found safe

1:12
Best of New Jersey: Grabbing a bite at Labebe Prime in North Brunswick Township

Best of New Jersey: Grabbing a bite at Labebe Prime in North Brunswick Township

0:22
Police: 19-year-old killed in crash on Route 30 in Atlantic City

Police: 19-year-old killed in crash on Route 30 in Atlantic City

0:28
Wayne Golf professional lays 100 straight holes of golf to raise money for veterans

Wayne Golf professional lays 100 straight holes of golf to raise money for veterans

0:26
Protest planned at Teterboro Airport to oppose geese gassing plans

Protest planned at Teterboro Airport to oppose geese gassing plans

0:26
Paterson’s restaurant week to celebrate city's diverse culinary scene

Paterson’s restaurant week to celebrate city's diverse culinary scene

Is your dad awesome? New Jersey tell us why your dad rocks!

Is your dad awesome? New Jersey tell us why your dad rocks!

0:54
Seaside Heights implements curfew following incident of overcrowded boardwalk

Seaside Heights implements curfew following incident of overcrowded boardwalk

1:11
Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall now on display in East Brunswick

Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall now on display in East Brunswick

0:14
Video shows 2-car crash at Pine Beach intersection; no injuries

Video shows 2-car crash at Pine Beach intersection; no injuries

2:01
Last-minute beachgoers in Seaside Heights brave the rainy, gloomy weather

Last-minute beachgoers in Seaside Heights brave the rainy, gloomy weather

2:23
Kearny launches banner program to remember, honor local war heroes for Memorial Day

Kearny launches banner program to remember, honor local war heroes for Memorial Day

2:09
Kane In Your Corner: What to do if you’ve been a victim of identity theft

Kane In Your Corner: What to do if you’ve been a victim of identity theft