Statistics produced by the Union County Prosecutor's Office just last month show that crime is UP 12.4% in Plainfield.* This is shameful, and speaks to the current administration's empty talk on crime and safety.
I know first-hand how crime affects us all. As I walk through the streets of Plainfield, listening to you, the voters, it is clear that the current administration under Sharon is deaf to your serious concerns about your own safety.
There is a misconception being perpetrated by my opponent that my goal is to reduce the police department. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, we have less police on the force than 3 ½ years ago, when this mayor came into office. In addition, more losses were caused by the fact that the mayor had officers personally assigned to her for her use for 3 years—meaning even less officers available for crime-fighting!
As your mayor, I will fight crime like never before! My goal is to add additional police officers to city streets by bringing the complement of officers up to 160. I will use the savings that will result from attrition and retirements and funds available under President Obama’s Federal Stimulus program to accomplish this goal.
For example, up to $1 billion in funding from President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was made available through the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) to address the personnel needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement. The funding, through COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP) goes directly to law enforcement agencies to create and preserve jobs and to increase community policing capacity and crime-prevention efforts through the hiring and rehiring of law enforcement officers. The grant would have provided 100 percent funding for salaries and benefits for 3 years for newly-hired, full-time sworn officer positions (including filling existing unfunded vacancies) or for rehired officers who have been laid off, or are scheduled to be laid off on a future date, as a result of local budget cuts.
Unfortunately, the current administration dropped the ball and did not apply for this competitive grant; the deadline, April 14, 2009, has passed! This is truly unfortunate, because there was no local matching fund requirement, meaning no additional tax burden on you, the taxpayer. In addition, no cap was placed on the number of positions we could have requested for funding!
Under a Mapp administration, we will apply for ALL available funding to increase safety and improve crime prevention! We will make sure that every dollar allocated for crime fighting is spent on crime fighting. Working with our police, we must tackle drug dealing, assaults, home invasions, car break-ins, and all other criminal activity. We must be vigilant.
We’ve had enough empty talk from the current administration about crime. We will not drop the ball and ignore the needs of our residents as the current mayor has done. We will not place our heads in the sand. Under Sharon, crime has steadily increased.
It’s time for action! It’s time for change!
*Source: Star-Ledger, 4/21/09 “New statistics show crime surge in Union County last year”: In Plainfield, second in the county to Elizabeth in total number of crimes...crime rose 12.4% percent.” Statistics provided by the Uniform Police Report to the Union County Prosecutor's Office.