Sunday, December 30, 2007

At least he's trying

Newark's Mayor Booker is on the job and in town!

The venerable New York Times ran an interesting story this morning about Newark Mayor Cory Booker's hands on approach to improving public safety in New Jersey's largest city.

The story relates how Mayor Booker and his Police Director Garry McCarthy have been making surprise visits to the city's four precinct houses and touring Newark's streets during the overnight hours to observe first hand how the Newark Police Department carries out its duties. Mayor Booker commends the Police for the job they are doing and challenges them to keep up the pressure on the criminal element in between answering calls for service.

Mayor Booker also visits the communications center to observe the volume of calls for service and how the recently installed camera system is monitored.

The article is a good read and makes one wonder why we aren't seeing a similar "hands on" approach to policing here in Trenton. While some here may find fault with an elected official and his appointed director being so involved, one has to think it can't be any worse than the absentee management we get from our missing mayor and non-resident police director.

One gets the sense that Mayor Booker understands the importance of improving Newark's Public Safety image and that he needs the cooperation and buy in of the entire Police Department to accomplish this. And it is apparent that he is willing to put in the time and effort, in person, to impress this upon the members of the department.

Contrast this with the completely adversarial attitude Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer takes towards the members of the Trenton Police Department. His complaints about disgruntled cops and union leaders might carry more weight if Mr. Palmer was actually around to observe just how the police department operates. Similarly, a police director who didn't believe he was above the law might go further towards making a real improvement in Trenton's public safety.

Instead we get excuses, public relations spin and "taillights driving off into the sunset."

Almost makes you wish you lived in Newark.

A quick nod to Trenton's Time for discovering the NY Times article and posting about it on Saturday.

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