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New Jersey Cities Getting Grants For Crime Fighting Technology

Communications clerk Angel Castro monitors a remote surveillance camera view in the newly-opened Surveillance Operations Center - Newark, NJ - July 1, 2008 - Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Communications clerk Angel Castro monitors a remote surveillance camera view in the newly-opened Surveillance Operations Center – Newark, NJ – July 1, 2008 – Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

levon_feature Levon Putney
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NEWARK, NJ (WCBS 880) - Several New Jersey cities will be getting federal grant funding for a technological upgrade that will help catch criminals

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said camera technology is a useful tool in solving cases. A police video of 2007 Newark shooting helped prosecutors after the shooter claimed self defense in court.

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“It was very obvious that Mr. Fernandez, from the moment he left the restaurant, [and] came down the steps, he was shooting his gun,” says Murray. “This technology can help us provide jurors with hard evidence.”

Now, 17 cities are getting federal grant money to install cameras and license plate readers.

Union County Prosecutor Ted Romankow says they’ve used license plate readers in a homicide investigation.

“We were able to track individuals who were involved,” says Romankow. “So it’s definitely of help to us.”

“Now an investigator has a tool that he can go back and say ‘During this time, right after the shooting, what were the cars in this general vicinity,” says Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey.

“We all are required to do more with less again and again and that’s the purpose of this program, to help that problem,” says state Attorney General Paula Dow, who adds it’ll also help departments rehire officers to monitor camera video.

Dow says the grants will help “make what we do more efficient and more effective.”|

Grants of $500,000 each will be made available to police departments in six cities with a population of at least 75,000. These “Tier One” cities, listed in descending order based on the amount of violence experienced, are:

Newark
Camden
Jersey City
Trenton
Paterson
Elizabeth

Grants of $250,000 each will be made available to police departments in 11 cities with a population under 75,000. These “Tier Two” cities, listed in descending order of violence, are:

Irvington
Atlantic City
Plainfield
East Orange
Orange
Pleasantville

Asbury Park
New Brunswick
Passaic
Vineland
Bridgeton

Also included will be special cameras with cameras with gunshot detection as well as equipment to convert to countywide or regional dispatch systems.

“I challenge everyone to consider regionalization,” said Dow. “I know in my hometown communities of South Orange and Maplewood, they just regionalized the court system there. It’s smart, it’s cost-efficient, it’s more effective and you get the best of both worlds.”

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She says New Jersey is behind the times on this, noting that states like Florida and Maryland have benefited from combining department functions.