N.J. assemblywoman: Don’t hold Trenton hostage over Tony Mack

Trenton Mayor Tony Mack has requested $46 million from the state of New Jersey to rehire laid-off police officers and add new ones.

The city is experiencing a surge in violent crime. In a letter to Gov. Chris Christie last week, Mack proposed hiring 75 more officers to patrol city streets.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester County, has said he’s unwilling to provide additional state aid to Trenton and to Mack, who’s facing charges of extortion and fraud. His trial isn’t slated to begin until next year and without a conviction, the state can’t force him from office.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer County, said the delegation from Trenton is united in requesting additional funding for cops.

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“We wish him well, but we often wish him a speedy exit. The fact is that that Trenton does have a leadership void and we really need to concentrate on the systemic violence that’s been plaguing the city,” Gusciora said.

Trenton has already seen 27 homicides this year. It only had 24 during all of last year.

Gusciora and his colleague Bonnie Watson Coleman, representing Trenton in the Assembly, argued that the city cannot be held hostage to the mayor’s reputation.

“That is not an excuse for allowing the people of the city of Trenton, who live there or come and work there or whatever, and the children of the city of Trenton to be in these unsafe conditions,” Coleman said Tuesday.

“We still have a responsibility to make sure that those citizens are safe, as safe as we can use our resources to make them,” Coleman said.

Mayor Mack’s office, the governor’s office and Senate President Sweeney did not return requests for comment from WHYY.

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