NEWARK -- Newark residents can share feedback about policing and public safety in the city through a series of community surveys set to begin Saturday.
The surveys will be available in each of Newark's five wards and offered in Spanish, Portuguese and English, according to a city news release. The effort comes amid widespread reform of policing in Newark after a federal probe uncovered civil rights abuses among the state's largest municipal police department.
"We are making good on our promise to bring about real reform, real change, and true transparency in public safety," Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement. "As part of building trust between our police and the community, it is important to hear from residents what we can be doing better as well as what they are pleased with."
The surveys are a joint program with city officials, the police division's independent federal monitor and New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.
Federal monitor seeks public input on Newark police reform plan
"This community feedback is critical to the roll-out of important reforms to the police division," Ryan P. Haygood, president of the NJISJ, said of the surveys.
A 2014 U.S. Department of Justice investigation revealed a "pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing," in the Newark, which included illegal stops and arrests, and excessive force by officers. Baraka's administration entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice and hired former Essex County Prosecutor's Office Chief of Detectives Anthony Ambrose to oversee an overhaul of public safety operations in the city.
Refreshments will be offered at the survey sites and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions. More information is available at www.newarkpdmonitor.com
The events are scheduled at the following dates and locations:
- Saturday, March 4: Training, Recreation, and Education Center, 55 Ludlow Street, Noon to 2 p.m.
- Saturday, March 11: Bethany Baptist Church, 275 West Market Street, Noon to 2 p.m.
- Saturday, March 18: West Side Park Community Center, 600 South 17th Street, Noon to 2 p.m.
- Saturday, March 25: Ironbound Community Corporation, 25 Cortland Street, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Saturday, April 1: La Casa de Don Pedro, 23 Broadway, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
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