NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — When Sheilah Coley first put on that blue uniform and proudly wore the shield she was just one of 15 female cops on Newark’s police force.
Twenty-two years later, she becomes the city’s first female police chief.
“There is no other job that I ever wanted to do,” Coley said.
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Coley’s boss, Police Director Samuel DeMaio, joined her to say that crime reduction is a priority.
The veteran officer was appointed by Mayor Cory Booker and approved by the Newark City Council after it re-established the police chief position last week. She was formally introduced Tuesday.
The former precinct commander and head of internal affairs takes the helm at a time when New Jersey’s largest city has witnessed one of its most violent summers in recent memory. The recent surge in violent crime has nearly erased substantial earlier gains in Booker’s tenure.
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“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we just need to go back and put the rubber to the ground and do good old-fashioned police work,” Coley said. “I will be in the community, I will listen to the community and together we will come up with resolutions to move this city forward.”
Coley and DeMaio are stepping in at a difficult time for the department, more than 150 officers were laid off last year.
DeMaio was confirmed last week after being appointed to replace Garry McCarthy, who resigned to become police director in Chicago.
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