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OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE

 
 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Lt. Al Della Fave (609) 882-2000 x6514
Sgt. Kevin Rehmann x6515
Sgt. Gerald Lewis x6516
Tpr. Stephen Jones x6513

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 14, 2003


 
 
STATE POLICE BEGIN FULL-SCALE IRVINGTON PATROLS
Multi-Agency Essex County Anti-Crime Partnership Works to Win Back Irvington Streets

     Irvington, N.J. - Attorney General Peter Harvey and State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes today announced the beginning of full-scale State Police patrols in the crime-ridden areas of Irvington. As a part of the recently formed Essex County Anti-Crime Partnership, the strengths of the State Police are being coupled with the Division of Criminal Justice, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, Irvington Police Department, Newark Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Rutgers University Institute for Police Studies. The partnership is aiming to dramatically reduce street crime in response to requests for aid from the Irvington Police Department and the citizens of Irvington.

     Attorney General Peter Harvey, praising the initial work of the partnership stated, “We are at the beginning of a new day for Irvington. The partnership will empower the Irvington Police Department and give the city back to the people.”

     Colonel Rick Fuentes sees the effort as an example of the ‘New Paradigm of Partnerships.’ “The State Police can most effectively improve the situation in high crime areas by building a rapport with civic and faith-based groups, strengthening relationships with local and county law enforcement, and then confronting the problems with the combined strengths of everyone,” said Fuentes. “The response we received from the citizens in Irvington has been positive and it tells us the partnership is right on the track.”

     For the past several weeks the partnership has been in the early operational stages, with multi-agency teams of detectives arresting scores of drug dealers and fugitives. Additionally, Troopers in the State Police Commercial Carrier Unit have been targeting certain Irvington Streets for truck inspections where drivers have been known to solicit prostitutes. But the largest impact has been made by the State Police Street Gang Unit, which has been concentrating on the Irvington area for several months with dramatic results. The

     The Essex County Anticrime Partnership got its start almost a year ago when Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith approached Colonel Fuentes requesting assistance with a growing problem with street gang violence and drug dealers.

     "I made a promise to the people of Irvington that we would reduce crime and make the streets safe, and I am making use of all available resources to keep that pledge," the mayor said. "Our citizens expect and deserve the best in services, whether it involves law enforcement or any other issue that will boost their quality of life," Smith added.

     To help build broad-based support, Smith and Irvington Police Director Michael Damiano facilitated meetings between law enforcement and the public at several schools and churches. In May, the involved law enforcement agencies met with staff from Rutgers University School for Police Studies to work out the details of the partnership.

     Some city residents were surveyed to learn more about the public's perception of law enforcement and the state of their neighborhoods. The respondents noted that they see gang activity, drug transactions and prostitution on a daily basis; that they do not feel safe on their own streets; and that they do not see enough of a police presence. Additional comments were helpful in planning when and where to concentrate patrols.

     The progress of the partnership will be reviewed by a committee on a regular basis to determine its effectiveness and direction. Eventually, the assistance of the State Police will no longer be needed. By that time, the citizens of Irvington will be living in a much safer and happier community.

     

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