Newark may cut dozens of police officers

July 16, 2010 3:37:31 PM PDT
For Newark Police Director Gary McCarthy, Friday was one of the worst in his 4 years on the job.

"It's a terrible day for me," he said.

Not because his own job is in jeopardy, but because of the proposed cuts he had to submit.

Looking to cut 17-million dollars from his 2011 budget, he says he had no choice but to cut jobs.

"Eliminate the position of captain -- 29 captains will be reduced to the position of lieutenant," he said.

That's just the beginning. Thirty-five lieutenants, 48 sergeants, 167 officers and 211 civilian positions will go too.

The big question is will the cuts affect the public's safety?

"We are going to find every possible way to not allow that to happen and to not give up any ground," McCarthy said.

If some on the city council have their way, the man who gets a lot of the credit for lowering crime citywide, in some cases by more than 40 percent, could have to give up his own job.

The city council has to reconfirm McCarthy for 4 more years with at least 5 votes.

Some say community relations might be his downfall.

"He can walk with kings, but he's got to get the common touch and be with the community and more responsive to community demands," Councilman Ronald Rice said.

Rice would not say how he would vote, but said his problem is with the department as a whole and how it treats minority officers and accusations of police brutality.

"Every council person has to go through their own calculations. I respect that. This is the democratic process. So, I'm confident that he is going to get reconfirmed," Newark Mayor Cory Booker said.

The director is not as confident about the vote, which is coming up on July 27.

"After four years in this city, nothing surprises me," McCarthy said.

We're told unless police unions make concessions, these budget cuts could go into effect as early as November.