News Article

Mini Police Precinct Opens In Newark's West Ward

By Katie Colaneri, WBGO News
Newark. March 22, 2013

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Columbia Avenue is a residential street just around the corner from the West Ward's new mini police precinct.

Almost two weeks after another fatal shooting in Newark’s West Ward, officials say community policing in that neighborhood is getting a boost with a new “mini police precinct.”

The new substation sits on South Orange Avenue, just across the street from the site of the old mini precinct that was shut down about eight years ago when the building was condemned.

“It’s been a missing ingredient in this community since it’s been closed.”

Councilman Ron C. Rice says now it’s the third substation to open in the West Ward and the new home of the Newark Police Department’s Vailsburg Task Force.

Police Director Sam DeMaio says these mini precincts provide more common ground for the public and the police.

“This is kinda like community roll call 365 days a year. It’s a substation that’s centered right in the middle of a community that other than this being here, there wouldn’t be that interaction between the community that lives here and the officers.”

DeMaio says at least two officers will be on staff up to 16 hours a day, Monday through Friday.

Keesh Shells walks her three daughters to school in this neighborhood and says having more police officers around should help keep crime in check.

“Just the violence, the shooting… the drugs like…It’s too much for me.”

Down the street, though, another resident was loading up a moving van. After nine years, she says she’s sick of the violence. As for the new precinct, to her, it’s too little too late.

“Three people got killed right here in front of my house. The drug dealers live all right here. They don't do nothing."

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