Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. issued the following statement regarding the City of Newark’s new policy directing police officers to refer victims of crimes, such as simple assault, criminal mischief and harassment to file complaints in municipal court, rather than compile an incident report themselves.
“As a member of the City Council and member of the Public Safety Committee, it is simply unacceptable that I was never briefed on this major change affecting the city's ability to respond to the needs of our residents.
“What may appear to be minor to the leadership of the Police Department is an extremely serious issue for our residents. For example, a senior citizen who is assaulted would now to be required to go to court to file a complaint. This is no way to treat our seniors.
“I understand the importance of continued investment in our Police Department and the difficulties associated with doing so during these tough economic times. However, our goal as the largest municipal police department in New Jersey is to be more responsive to the needs of our taxpayers, not less.
“Residents deserve a police response when a criminal offense occurs, especially when assault victims need medical attention and our seniors who may fall victim to certain crimes and do not have the ability to go to court two or three times to file a complaint.
“I am calling on the Essex County Prosecutor to assist in an internal audit of our Police Department to ensure that we are maximizing the number of officers needed to respond to the needs of our residents and reduce the number of officers assigned to areas such as security detail and drivers.”