Crime-Filled Paterson, N.J. Staring At 100-Plus Police Layoffs

Cutting Of One-Third Of Force Has Residents Fearful Of Gangs

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Budget problems may result in fewer police patrolling the streets of one of the Garden State’s most violent cities.

A third of the officers are scheduled to be laid off, fueling fears that the cuts will mean a rise in crime, reports CBS 2’s John Metaxas.

Crime is already up in Paterson and this cash-strapped city — the third most populous city in New Jersey — has the second highest level of gang activity in the state. Citizens here said it’s not the time to lay off any police officers — let alone a third of the force.

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“This is bad, because the people need protection you know,” resident Maria Isabel Padilla said.

“I think we need so many more police officers because people are getting hurt around here left and right,” Debra Gatling added.

But the pink slips went out Monday and unless something changes, there will be 134 fewer police officers on these streets come April 1.

Mayor Jeffrey Jones said he has no choice because the police union refuses to grant any concessions to help him close a $12 million budget shortfall.

“We’re talking about everyone just giving in something — giving back something,” Jones said. “It’s not a question of political positioning, not a question of contract breaking. This is a question of we don’t have the money.”

The union sees things differently, saying it’s offered $4 million in savings but wants a guarantee against layoffs.

“The plan that we have now was offered to them a month ago,” Paterson PBA President Steven Olimpio said.

Still, the mayor insists sacrifice must be shared.

“I’ve participated in a furlough since January. Every pay period I give up a day,” Jones said.

Nobody’s happy about the cuts, least of all the people of Paterson. They come at a time when the city is trying to keep violent crime under control. Deaths by gunfire here were up 38 percent last year.

“Things are getting worse out here every day. You can’t even come out the door to go to the store else somebody is getting killed,” resident Malique Stevens said.

The fear here is that budget constraints could be hurting citizens’ safety. The cuts could eliminate a detective unit that investigates shootings in the city and scrap plans for an anti-gang unit.

Think the layoffs could have been avoided? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Innocent motorist

    $78 for the ticket, $25 court fees and $250 surcharge. That’s how much I had to pay for a bogus ticket in Paterson. I hope the officer that gave me the ticket was on of the one’s that got canned. Live life without the badge and I hope you get tickets and feel what it’s like paying for them.
    I hope the judge gets canned next.

  • William

    People this is a problem! How can we sit back and say this is Paterson’s problem? When that gang member is in your back yard then what? Your wife \, Child or Mother get stuck up or hurt then what? Do you think someone built a wall and no one can get out of Paterson? People will go rob people with money! I dont want this in my back yard! If the state need money tax the rich! If you make over $250k a year it wont hurt you to kick in a little more money. Why should the poor guy working 2 jobs pay more in tax than you do? So anyone who thinks this is not your problem, next time you go out to eat, to a movie who is waiting for you outside?

    • Joe

      William, do you really believe that those making over 250K will fix the problem by kicking in a little bit more? How many people do you think make that kind of money and how much would that help? Those who do make that kind of money already pay an unfair amount of taxes. Did you ever hear of the Alternative Minimum Tax? If you make over 250K you already pay over 50K in taxes and more.

  • Dean

    Make caning an option for punishment, see how fast crime will go down.

  • scared_white_man

    its going to be so much easier to get some crack and a ho in paterson come april 1st. this scared white dude will not venture anywhere need paterson.

  • Paul Kohloff

    start making it easier to get gun permits for honest law abiding citizens,and you’ll see crime go do,along with the crooks.

  • Paul

    Charity Search Engines

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