EAST ORANGE, NJ — Taking into account the uptick in gun violence and other violent crimes across the county, East Orange announced on June 9 the creation of a new unit in the East Orange Police Department that will increase community policing and outreach throughout the city. In a press conference, Mayor Ted Green discussed the C.A.R.E.S. — or Concerned About Residents’ Equality and Safety — Unit. Additionally, the East Orange Fire Department will collaborate with the EOPD to increase the fire department’s presence in the city with the Safe City summer initiative.
“When you look at what’s been happening with guns, our goal this summer is that folks in our community know that they can enjoy our city,” Green said at the press conference. “They can enjoy the parks, and they can enjoy walking in the morning, afternoon and evening.”
There will be increased foot patrols in all neighborhoods and targeted hot spots in the city, as well as friendly visits from officers and pop-up parks.
“Even though we’ve had an 89-percent crime reduction, we won’t be happy until we have a 100-percent crime reduction,” Green said. “I know, what with the hard work of the men and women in the department and what they do every day, that we can get there.”
According to EOPD Chief Phyllis Bindi, the department wants to focus on quality of life, crime prevention and providing youth programs during the summer. The department hopes to recruit children to participate in the Junior Police Explorers program, the Police Athletic League and the Summer Work Experience Program.
“We will be focusing on educational encounters by engaging with our youth with open lines of communication,” Bindi said at the press conference. “Our police department, fire department and Office of Emergency Management will be set up on several blocks throughout the city to encourage positive engagement. We want to encourage our kids to become young adults and become a larger part of our community.”
Bike patrol officers will be riding through the city during the summer, and there will be safety checkpoints in town. The department will be educating the community about crime prevention methods.
“We are proactively and strategically deploying our resources in real-time policing, along with maximizing our technology to prevent crime,” Bindi said, adding that this year alone, overall crime has decreased 10 percent and violent crime has decreased 20 percent. “All of the initiatives we put in place will forge a closer relationship with our community, so we continue to work as one.”
Acting EOFD Chief Bruce Davis said at the press conference that the fire department wants to have a positive relationship with the EOPD.
“We will be out in the community and will work in a positive way with the police department,” Davis said, addressing the police department when he said: “Thank you for always supporting the East Orange Fire Department, as well as all of the East Orange community departments.”
City Council Chairperson Christopher Awe said at the press conference that the summer initiative is also a collaboration between the departments and the city administration, not just between the EOPD and EOFD.
“We know that we will get every available resource to advocate for our community and empower our fire department, OEM and police department to have all the tools they need to keep our streets safe,” Awe said.
Editor’s note: This story was altered to correct a mistake. In the original story, acting Fire Chief Bruce Davis was misidentified.