Reporting Nicole Brewer
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – Outside Trenton Police headquarters, there were signs of the station’s largest layoff . Rows of shoes… as 105 police officers “got the boot.”
“We are family. Everybody bleeds blue. We came in as a family, and we’re leaving as a family,” said laid off officer Ryan Forster.
He set out his pair, in protest after one-third of his fellow officers were let go and 30 lieutenants and sergeants demoted to street patrol. It’s the biggest shake-up in the department’s history.
In a press conference Friday morning, Mayor Tony Mack said “we feel the only option we have now is to cut where we receive the most significant savings and unfortunately for us, it’s our public safety entities.”
Having received only 27 of the 34 Million dollars in transitional aid expected from Governor Chris Christie, Mayor Mack estimates the layoffs will save four million dollars. Still, he insists services will remain in tact.
“With a reduction in staff, you will see greater visibility, presence on our streets. We’ve restructured the way policemen will be situated.”
It’s a plan union president George Dzurkoc says simply won’t work. He believes these layoffs will lead to more violence in the city of Trenton.
“That’s evident by looking at our brothers and sisters to the north and south. Crime rates rose in those cities, once officers were laid off.”
And as for Ryan Forester … after seven years on the job, he blames Governor Christie for having to walk away.
“This is the capital city, where he works and his staff works. Who is going to protect Trenton? Who is going to protect he and his workers?”
The city has applied for a police grant, which Mayor Mack says could rescind layoffs of 17 police officers.
Reported by Nicole Brewer, CBS 3