Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Newark's New Division Takes to the Skies to Secure Hometown

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Newark's New Division Takes to the Skies to Secure Hometown

Article excerpt

New Jersey's largest city has taken its own step in protecting its citizens for post-September 11 life. The Newark Police Department recently announced the addition of the Homeland Security Division, which, along with the just as new aviation squad, will tackle the city's homeland security concerns.

Newark Mayor Sharpe James announced the decision at a press conference earlier this month. The Homeland Security Division will command the department's emergency response, bomb, K-9, rescue and river units. The division currently has 25 officers and will be adding another 10 to the emergency services unit once they have been properly trained.

"The Puritans who came up the Passaic River founded Newark to live a good life," James said at the press conference. "Today we are taking steps to protect our good life from the threat of terrorism. We are saying `never again' to September 11. We will insure the safety of all of our citizens."

The division also will control the police aviation department. James used the press conference to show off the department's two new Kiowa helicopters, part of the aviation squad. The helicopters will focus on hunting down drug dealers in the city.

"We will be able to monitor their activities, videotape them, record them and coordinate ground response against them."

The New Jersey State National Guard donated the helicopters to the city's police department and to the New Jersey State Police. They will be manned by national guardsmen and Newark police officers.

The new division will oversee the city's existing Emergency Services Unit, a program started in the late 1970s.

"This is a happy day for Newark," said Anthony F. Ambrose III, Newark's acting police director. Members of the emergency service unit attended the press conference. The department also brought one of its emergency trucks, which Ambrose pointed out had saved numerous lives responding to accident scenes and to heart attack victims. …

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