Police layoffs looming in Irvington, NJ

March 8, 2011 8:24:40 PM PST
Irvington police officers walked away from a meeting Tuesday night with their future on the job as uncertain as ever.

"They know the ramifications of this vote?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Yes," said Jerry Ramos, the Police Union President.

They decided not to vote on salary concessions.

Now, police layoffs are looming in Irvington as the township attempts to close a budget gap.

31 police officers' jobs are on the line, which is nearly 20% of the force.

"They layoff these cops we're going to be at 1965 manpower numbers," Ramos said.

The numbers are giving Irvington residents something to consider.

"Times are hard, it's sad too, you need cops," said one resident.

"Cutting cops is not a good idea, I think crime will increase," said another resident.

It did in Camden, New Jersey.

In January, nearly half of the police officers on the force there handed in their equipment, after massive law enforcement job cuts.

Then, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, violent crime jumped 19% and aggravated assaults with firearms were up 259% year to year.

It was a setback for Camden and a big red warning flag for cities like Irvington.

The mayor told Eyewitness News he's trying to save the police officers' jobs.

"No one likes to do this, this is not pleasant it's just the fiscal realities of today," said Wayne Smith, the Mayor of Irvington.

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