Atlantic City Police, Fire Officials Speak Out Against Proposed CutsLast Edited:
Due to the New Jersey State takeover of the Shore resort town, significant cuts could be made to its police and fire departments.
In response, the city's public safety teams came together on Friday, March 17th, to announce the launch of a public awareness campaign, in order to show city residents exactly what these cuts would mean for the city.
“We all took an oath to protect the citizens of this state," said Officer Josh Vadell, an injured Atlantic City police officer. "Who would have thought we’d have to protect the citizens from the State?”
Vadell is still recovering after being shot in the head in September 2016 when he interrupted an armed robbery. He spoke out against the proposed cuts for the Atlantic City Police and Fire departments on Friday and was received with a standing ovation.
“If these cuts do take place, we are not going to be able to adequately protect the city, it’s as simple as that,” said Bill DiLorenzo, president for Atlantic City Firefighters Local 198.
The State is asking Atlantic City officials to cut down its fire department to 125 firefighters, which DiLorenzo explained is more than half of the department. If the cuts go through, the Local 198 president claims much of the city won’t have enough firefighters to get the job done.
“Creating unsafe conditions for residents, visitors, and workers should not be part of the solution,” said DiLorenzo.
As for the Atlantic City Police Department, it's facing about 24 men or women being cut, which potentially includes Officer Vadell’s partner who is credited for saving his life.
Creating unsafe conditions for residents, visitors, and workers should not be part of the solution.
“We’ve cut our numbers by over 100 cops in just the last five years,” said Matt Rogers, PBA President, Local 24. “We’re at the smallest we’ve ever been for a police department. The city has not changed, [but] we continue to cut.”
“These are good men and women," said Mayor Don Guardian of Atlantic City. "These are people that put their lives on the line every single day. It’s time for us to stand up for them, the way they stand up for you.”
While members of the Fire and Police departments, along with other Atlantic City officials and residents, have come together to launch the public awareness campaign, both of the city's public safety departments say that this issue doesn’t come down to their paychecks or benefits, but instead the people that they put their lives on the line for every single day.
“The fact is, there is a Josh Vadell in every single member of the Atlantic City Police Department and also the Atlantic City Fire Department,” said Officer Vadell.
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