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Jerome García January 10, 2024 2 min read
Atlantic City Police Union Asks for More Officers amid Rise in Homicides
The request comes after four homicide cases were recorded for the first week of the year at the casino resort city
Atlantic City is a casino and entertainment destination that is visited by nearly 30 million people annually. With a wide range of restaurants, hotels, casinos and entertainment options, the Boardwalk serves as the backbone of the city. Despite the available security cameras across Atlantic City, crimes are on the rise.
As announced by the Press of Atlantic City, the city’s police union urged for more officers amid a staggering increase in the number of violent crimes, homicides in particular. Jules Schwenger, PBA Local #24 president, revealed that for 2023, there was a total of 7 homicides. In contrast for the first week of 2024, a total of 4 homicides were recorded, she alarmed.
According to Schwenger, one way to increase the number of officers is by appointing part-time officers to full-time positions. She revealed that there are approximately 35 officers who can shift from part-time to full-time. Additionally, Schwenger warned: “Every day that goes by we risk they make the decision to go work somewhere else.”
Currently, the Atlantic City Police Department has 291 officers, according to PBA Local’s president. She said she doesn’t expect the number of officers to return to the highest one recorded, 400, but at the same time outlined that there is “no substitute for boots on the ground.”
Schwenger revealed there are open positions for six officers who are leaving or retiring, asking the city to quickly make up for the reduced number. She outlined that four more positions would open at the start of February due to officers leaving. “The hiring … needs to be expedited,” Schwenger urged.
AC’s Mayor Disagrees, Says Shootings Politicized
But not everyone agrees with PBA Local’s president. Mayor Marty Small Sr. criticized Schwenger’s request. “The audacity of the PBA president to politicize shootings and murders by saying we need more cops,” he responded after Schwenger’s calls to increase the number of officers.
Besides law enforcement, Atlantic City is also watched closely by 3,000 security cameras. The footage from those devices often helps solve crimes or gain leads for culprits involved in different unlawful activities. Amid the uptick of criminal activities, Atlantic City Police Department’s chief, James A. Sarkos, recently supported the idea of increasing the number of security cameras with the addition of 1,000 devices. “It’s a huge investment in public safety, and it’s going to make Atlantic City safer for everybody,” he explained at the time.