TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice today is calling for the implementation of his 1997 law which he says will go a long way in protecting the residents of public housing in New Jersey.
The law authorized housing authorities in large municipalities, like Newark, to create a special police force to patrol public housing. The housing authority police officers would be deemed regular law enforcement officers, and would be held to the same standards as the regular police force.
“You don’t forfeit your right to protection just because you are poor,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex, and Chairman of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. “Newark’s housing authority needs to make the safety of its residents a top priority. Citizens, regardless of where they live deserve protection from drug dealers, gang members and other law breakers.”
According to Senator Rice, “Although the crime rate in New Jersey is on the decline, the Newark Police force doesn’t have enough manpower to patrol every housing unit in the city. By assigning police officers to patrol public housing, we are able to deter crime and protect citizens,” added Senator Rice.
“Public housing residents have pleaded for more police presence for years,” said Senator Rice. “By implementing the law that allows the housing authorities to create their own police force, we will be able to decrease crime by evicting drug dealers and other criminals who operate within the housing units.”