(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex) released the following statement on Monday following the Assembly Budget Committee’s hearing on the Department of Law and Public Safety:
“Cities continue to struggle with severe reductions in municipal aid made by the Christie administration over the last two years, and they’re only beginning to feel the repercussions.
“Newark, Paterson, Camden and Trenton have endured significant police layoffs under this administration, which has emboldened criminals, made the job for remaining police officers that much more dangerous and threatened public safety, which was already problematic in these cities.
“With fewer police officers, departments have had no choice but to shift priorities – with minor crimes getting less attention over more serious offenses – and ditch a policing strategy widely credited with reducing major crime in New Jersey and across the country in the last thirty years.
“Police departments in Camden and Trenton have had to rely on state police to help fill the gap in coverage. Now the governor’s budget calls for a sparse $1 million to assist in recruitment and training of 300 new state police troopers, well below the amount spent in the past for just 100 troopers.
“The governor’s math seems off again; this time at the risk of public safety.
“It’s time the governor made the welfare of all New Jerseyans a priority and give these towns the necessary resources to uphold public safety and foster their revitalization.
Maybe then we’ll have a real New Jersey comeback.”