Second, when you look at what we spend on our Jersey City Police Department versus the overall budget and compare that to other cities, it would be hard to argue that Jersey City is not ahead of the curve and moving in the right direction. As a percentage, we spend less than most cities already, while achieving better results.
Of course, I’m always willing to look at options to spend more money on social services. Our track record speaks to this with tangible results, but I’m not willing to take steps that would be counterproductive to public safety.
For people that say “defund the police department even more,” it is important to understand that in our current budget, the JCPD budget is 99% salaries. So that means that defunding the budget translates to officer layoffs. In government, layoffs (by law) don’t allow for an arbitrary selection of good performers vs. bad performers. Rather, layoffs in government mean that the last officers hired are the first to be let go.
I’m sure you would agree with me that laying off our newest police officers that happen to live in the city, that are the officers who represent the diversity in the JCPD, and are the officers that have been engaged with the community in a positive way is NOT the solution here.
Over the years, we have seen a historic decrease in crime within Jersey City and that is largely because of our investment in social services, recreation, re-entry programs, economic development AND public safety.
I’m going to continue listening to where we can improve and at the same time, do my best to keep you informed on your local government and our specific decisions.