EOPD Violent Crime Task Force reestablished

Photo by Chris Sykes
East Orange Mayor Ted Green, shown here at his inauguration, promised to make public safety the top priority of his new administration and, on Friday, Aug. 31, announced the reactivation of the Police Division’s Violent Crimes Task Force.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange Mayor Ted Green promised to make public safety the top priority in his new administration and, on Friday, Aug. 31, he took another step in that direction when he, public safety liaison Jose Cordero and police Chief Phyllis Bindi announced the reactivation of the Police Division’s Violent Crimes Task Force.

“Public safety is always my top priority and I am 100 percent in favor of doing whatever we need to do to keep our community safe,” said Green on Friday, Aug. 31. “Reactivating the Task Force is a huge step in the right direction.”

According to Green, the EOPD Violent Crime Task Force, originally established in 2005, was disbanded in 2016. Cordero was the EOPD director during former Mayor Robert Bowser’s administration when the task force was formed; now it is back with a mission to specifically target key “hot spots,” violent activity and other “issues of community concern.”

The task force was redeployed Sunday, Aug. 26, and has already made more than 20 arrests for offenses ranging from drug possession and possession with intent to distribute to eluding and receiving stolen property. In fact, officers recently ended a crosstown robbery spree, after stopping a stolen car from West Orange, which was ultimately linked to several robberies in Montclair.

“The officers first noticed the car when it was circling City Hall Plaza in East Orange,” said Bindi on Friday, Aug. 31. “A pursuit ensued and ended in Orange, where the suspects were apprehended and charged accordingly.”

Bindi said the revived Violent Crimes Task Force’s successful action regarding the Montclair robbery spree was a continuation of the EOPD’s overall recent success in reducing crime. Compared to this time last year, overall crime has decreased 19 percent and violent crime has decreased 25.4 percent.

“Crime is down and we are going to keep it that way. Ultimately, our community is experiencing historic lows in crime, but people don’t always feel safe when they don’t see officers on the street,” said Bindi on Friday, Aug. 31. “This is what community policing is about. We’ve got more police walking the beat, more police in the parks, more police on bikes and now more police to proactively target violent crime. We are sending a strong message that we have zero tolerance in the city of East Orange.”

Cordero agreed that getting East Orange and the EOPD back on track is a top priority. And he said reactivating the Violent Crimes Task Force is a step in the right direction.

“Every step in our anti-crime plan is strategic and will make a major shift in the public’s perception of East Orange,” said Cordero on Friday, Aug. 31. “If people say they don’t feel safe, then we are going to use the manpower and resources needed to make sure they do. The message to people involved in violent criminal activity in East Orange is clear: Regardless of where you come from, we are coming after you!”