N.J. attorney general: State police will patrol struggling cities if ‘need arises’

The New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee is continuing to look at Gov. Chris Christie’s spending plan for the coming fiscal year. Public safety was the focus of one of the latest hearings.

Assemblyman Al Coutinho, D-Newark, questioned what’s being done to help urban areas where budget concerns prompted police layoffs.

“It’s my position that, through (the Department of Community Affairs), to have a line item specifically to address what I would consider catastrophic increases in crime in inner cities that have laid off police officers,” he said Monday.

Attorney General Jeff Chiesa said state police can provide intelligence to help cities and towns.

“Essentially, these are maps,” he said. “And these maps tell us where the most criminal activity is occurring so that, in the places where we have limited resources, we’re making sure we allocate those resources to those places.”

Chiesa says state troopers cannot regularly patrol in all communities but can be sent in when the need arises.

“There are certain places, for example in Camden, where we have state police presence on a consistent basis. There are other places where … we’ll determine to allocate state police officers when we think the need arises,” he said.

Chiesa also said two new classes of recruits will help deal with anticipated retirements on the state police force. Twenty-five more civilian employees will be hired to take over some tasks now done by troopers.

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