Three Sheriff Officers Officially Make Lateral Transfer to JCPD in Swearing in Today

In an effort to increase the size of a police department hit by mass retirements, Jersey City has begun the process of bolstering the deplete force by adding new officers at a swearing in today.

The three additional officers who took their oaths today come as the first part of a total addition of 36 new officers joining the city’s ranks. These officers are entering the department via a lateral transfer from the sheriff’s department and will only need an abbreviated training before they can begin. When the Council received an update on the reorganization plans of the police department, officials were told that there are currently only 777 officers in the police force, down from 803 a few months ago. With the addition of the new officers — some of whose salaries will be covered by grant money — the police force will be slightly above the strength it was at the end of last year.

In his first swearing-in of police officers, Mayor Steve Fulop said the city’s business can’t continue without having a strong police department.

“What we talk about in the education front, the recreation front, that starts with public safety,” he said. “We won’t have investments in a neighborhood unless people feel safe there.”

The officers will be joining the patrol division, according to Deputy Chief Robert Cowan, who said while the department was the state’s “best,” changes were needed in the culture.

“There is a culture in the police department, identified by Mayor Fulop, that is going to be changed,” said Cowan, who told the officers they would be part of that change.

Though his position is pending official approval by the Council, James Shea, the new Director of Public Safety, attended as a guest. “Someone once told me policing is like teaching,” he said. “It’s the noblest profession in the world if you do it well.”

Photo: Matt Hunger

Matt Hunger

is a former staff writer for the Jersey City Independent.