Warrens swear in 13 new police officers

ORANGE, NJ — Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren and his brother, police Director Todd Warren, closed out 2017 by swearing in 13 new members of the Orange Police Department on Friday, Dec. 15, in a ceremony in the Orange Municipal Court.

“I am honored and proud to have the privilege to welcome you all to the Orange Police Department,” said Mayor Warren at the event. “I wish you continued success and future growth in your law enforcement career.”

Director Warren, who comes from the corrections side of law enforcement, as opposed to policing, echoed his brother’s sentiments. He also reportedly encouraged the new members to stay focused, be great police officers and continue their education and training to move up the ranks.

“I am very proud of the men and the woman who are joining our Orange Police Department family,” said Director Warren at the swearing-in ceremony. “This is the largest class of new police officers to graduate under the Warren administration. Crime is down by 29 percent from last year and our Orange police officers have succeeded in doing this during economic challenges. It meant more time on the streets and being present and active in our community. We’re looking to build on these successes and the members of this graduating class are in a great position to help us do that.”

The swearing-in of 13 new police officers was good news in a city where incidents of violent crime spiked in 2016, with nine homicides.

City Council President Kerry Coley, the incumbent East Ward councilman and a retired Orange police officer, agreed that the hiring of 13 new officers by the Orange Police Department would help to address the city’s ongoing public safety issues.

“I’m glad to see the administration take the lead on public safety,” said Coley on Wednesday, Jan. 10. “The new officers that were sworn in are just one phase of an aggressive crime fighting plan that (the Orange Police Department) will roll out in the coming weeks. I look forward to any and all crime fighting tactics from the fine men and women at the Orange Police Department.”

In 2016, Mayor Warren and then-acting police Director John Wade announced Operation Spring Cleaning on Wednesday, April 20, in response to the recurring incidents of multiple shootings and homicides within relatively short spans of time in Orange.

On Friday, July 29, 2016, after Warren’s re-election as mayor and his appointment of his brother to replace Wade, the siblings held a meeting in Council Chambers to discuss possible solutions to Orange’s ongoing public safety issues with Ashley J. Cartwright, Duwan Johnson and the other concerned citizens who had organized the Put It Down Anti-Gun Crime Rally that day.

The Warrens later resolved the Orange Police Department’s seven-year-old contract dispute and closed 2016 by announcing that the council had voted unanimously Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 to approve a resolution to accept grant funds from the U.S. Department of Justice for the 2016 Cops Hired Program. This meant Orange would get six new officers in 2017 to help out its depleted police force.

“I think the grant is great. Anytime you’re talking about … grant money to hire officers, it’s a great thing,” said Coley on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, which he reiterated on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. “I would say we’re about 20 to 25 guys under strength, minimum. If I recall correctly, we should have been at a minimum staffing level about 134 guys to cover a town the size of Orange, if you want to do all of the things that you want to do: walking patrols, school resources officers, information gathering, etc. If you want to have a real impact, not just policing your community.”

Coley said the CHP grant for six new police officers was “a good start.”

“The Police Department is like an NFL roster; it’s always the next man or woman up,” Coley said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. It’s always fluid because something always happens and you need people that are ready to go so you have to have people on standby ready to go. That’s how this public safety thing works. It’s how you keep your city safe.”

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, the Warrens announced a record reduction in crime statistics and the start of new Orange Police Department Bike Patrol Unit via an email blast that states “violent crime in Orange has drastically declined compared to this time in 2016” and “records show other instances of violent crime declining below 50 percent in the city.”