EAST ORANGE, NJ — According to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens II and East Orange Police Chief Phyllis Bindi, a member of the East Orange Police Division was involved in a shooting on Tuesday, Nov. 13, which the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has been called in to investigate.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Stephens announced the ECPO Professional Standards Bureau is investigating a police-involved shooting in East Orange.
“Last night at approximately 9 p.m., East Orange police officers responded to a report of shots fired,” said Stephens on Wednesday, Nov. 14. “Officers encountered the suspect in the area of Park Avenue and North Walnut, where at least one officer discharged his service weapon. The suspect was struck. He was treated and remains hospitalized, in stable condition.”
Stephens also said the East Orange police officer had fired his gun at an armed suspect.
“The suspect was in possession of a gun,” said Stephens. “The investigation is active and ongoing. No charges have been filed at this time.”
Mayor Ted Green said the ECPO investigation is a necessary formality to ensure that justice is served, when it comes to the officer and person shot.
“It’s still under investigation,” said Green on Sunday, Nov. 18. “We’re going to always support our police officers, but when things like that happen, the Prosecutor’s Office has to come in. I support my police officers 100 percent. We want to make sure our citizens are safe. We don’t want our police officers to feel like they don’t have support from this administration, because that is not the case.”
Green and Bindi joined Jose Cordero, the public safety liaison, in kicking off the “Drive Right, Be Right” campaign on Wednesday, Oct. 24. The campaign is “a targeted effort to improve the quality of life throughout the city” and was created as a direct response to more than 1,000 citizen surveys conducted since Green became mayor.
“Public safety remains one of my administration’s top priorities and I commend the great work that has been done in the past few months to curb crime. That’s why we have had a steady decline in crime in 2018,” said Green on Wednesday, Oct. 24. “A stronger police presence, strict enforcement and consistent communication about our efforts are going a long way to making people feel safe. I encourage all residents to take heed to our warnings and follow the campaign’s slogan: ‘Drive right and be right.’ ”
Green said East Orange’s crime rate has dropped 21 percent overall and 29 percent with regard to violent crimes, compared to 2017, but he and Cordero agreed that statistics aren’t always most important, when it comes to fighting crime and changing public perception. They said improving residents’ perceptions of safety and security require continually identifying the public safety issues that matter most to residents and to focus police efforts on minimizing the negative effects they cause across all neighborhoods of the city.
Cordero and Green said “Drive Right, Be Right” is really a throwback to police work achieved when the former was police director in former Mayor Robert Bowser’s administration. Green was a member of City Council at that time.
“More than a decade ago, there was a time when motorists were afraid to commit traffic infractions while traveling through or driving in East Orange, because they knew there was a good chance that they would get caught,” said Cordero on Wednesday, Oct. 24. “During that same period, potential criminals avoided our city for the exact same reason. We want to rekindle that feeling and make sure that our residents and visitors know that we are doing everything possible to make East Orange safe.”
Bindi said that, during the first 21 hours of the “Drive Right, Be Right” campaign, East Orange police officers made nearly 500 motor vehicle stops, issued 398 motor vehicle summons and performed 29 arrests for a variety of traffic, narcotics and other offenses.
“Based on the surveys, a large majority of residents feel relatively safe living and working in East Orange but traffic safety ranked among the top five concerns for residents,” said Bindi on Wednesday, Oct. 24. “Police engaged in high-visibility crime prevention operations throughout the city, deployed a mobile camera to an area with of a high concentration of community complaints and investigated suspicious activities, including aggressive panhandling, loud noise, reckless bike riders and other quality-of-life complaints. Police officers interacted with over 100 citizens and informed them of the nature and purpose of the operation and reinforced awareness of city laws.”