125 Paterson police officers laid off

April 15, 2011 4:14:56 AM PDT
Cuts in government services are not just a political debate in Washington. It's real life in New Jersey.

A quarter of the officers in the Paterson Police Department have been laid off.

There are now fewer cops in a city that just about everyone agrees needs more police.

On the streets of Paterson, things are not looking up in the eyes of some city residents.

"There's a lot of crime," said Nelsa Rodriguez, a Paterson resident.

Rodriguez is concerned that crime will spike.

"They're will be more killing," Rodriguez said.

The residents of one of New Jersey's toughest towns are wondering what comes next, now that 125 cops have begun turning in their badges.

"Whatever it takes to bring them back we have to bring them back," a resident said.

According to city officials, state funding cuts have trickled down and now Paterson Police officials say they have been forced to cut about $5 million to $10 million from a $46 million budget.

The city's Director of Public Safety told Eyewitness News he's hoping that sometime this summer some of the cops the department let go will be rehired.

"Rough number right now we're hoping 25 to 30 back," Glenn Brown, the Director of Public Safety said.

Just as it has in other cities across the state, police department layoffs have been a hot button issue here.

In an attempt to gain public support, the PBA has been running ads; they've even posted a video on YouTube.

But the reality is, no matter what they police union officials know most of the 125 cops won't be coming back.

"It just became the perfect storm. We don't want to blame anybody, just find a solution," the official said.

The solution is something cities across the state and country are still searching for as departments learn to protect and serve with less.

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