Trenton braces for police layoffs

TRENTON, N.J. - July 27, 2011

Layoff notices will go out to more than 100 police officers in Trenton come the fall.

"There's going to be more killings like crazy," says one resident.

That's what some Trentonians are saying about news that come September 15th, the city plans to layoff 108 cops, 79 from street patrol and 29 ranking officers, including sergeants, lieutenants, and a captain.

"It's unfathomable to lose a third of my officers on the street," says Acting Police Director Joe Juniak.

The layoff plan, which also affects another 42 employees in other departments, means that the city is pink-slipping 11% of its workforce in order to close a projected budget gap of over 8 million dollars.

"I think the citizens better get ready," said Detective Guy Ponticiello. "I think the cops better get ready. I think the government should understand this is really not a good idea."

Police unions, business owners and many of the people we talked with, predict the layoffs will trigger a spike in crime.

"Oh chaos, it's going to get bad. It's going to get worse," said Amarylis Garrido.

"People are going to think they can get away with more stuff because there's going to be less officers around on the beat watching," Gina Anderson said.

"Even with the police right now, a lot of stores get robbed," said Javier Montoya. "Can you imagine with no cops?"

Police say they'll still be answering 911 calls, of course, but it's the investigations, the follow ups that will suffer because personnel will have to be pulled from tactical units, narcotics, crime intelligence and vice.

"The number of officers we're losing in uniform those officers will have to be replaced. And there's no other place to take them from except those specialized units," said Juniak.

"We're going to continue to work hard and fight crime and injustice, but this time, with a third less personnel to do the job? You can't make that up," says Lt. Mark Kieffer.

Mayor Tony Mack was unavailable for comment. An aide said he was out of town. Pink slips are set to go out on Monday.

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