JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The mayor of Jersey City is turning to a lifelong New Yorker to inject some fresh blood into the city’s police and fire departments.
Mayor Steve Fulop has named Deputy Chief James Shea of the New York Police Department as Jersey City’s new director of public safety.
“He’s going to bring Jersey City to the next level,” Fulop said, adding that Shea’s record is impeccable. “We’ve been a little bit behind the times and I think Jim coming into Jersey City is going to change the dynamics and move the city forward.”
Shea comes to Jersey City after 23 years in the NYPD, most recently leading the youth and gang crime division. He also led the robbery squad, worked narcotics and was a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Fulop defended his decision to hire an outsider saying, “We didn’t do it the way it’s been done in the past by choosing a political choice, we went out and found somebody with the best credentials.”
Unlike many lifelong New Yorkers, Shea has no problem crossing the Hudson River, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.
“Jersey City is actually closer to Manhattan than Brooklyn is,” Shea pointed out, and said he’s not worried about being an outsider. “As long as you are sincere and you work hard everyday and people understand that you are not coming in with an agenda they will work with you.”
Shea will reside in Jersey City.
The appointment comes after Jersey City’s longtime police chief and dozens of officers announced their retirements immediately following Fulop’s election in May.
Fulop has criticized the exodus, saying the retirements will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in payouts for unused vacation and sick days.
He’s vowed to audit every request for unpaid sick days for retiring officers.
The appointment also comes a week after Fulop announced the hiring of former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey to head a city commission on jobs.
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