With his department already slated to grow by 200 officers this year, Police Commissioner Syl-vester Johnson says he plans to ask for 100 more officers for a new entertainment unit operating along the nightclub-packed Delaware Avenue.
Johnson took the unusual step of making his budget priorities known just two weeks before Mayor Street is scheduled to offer the last budget proposal of his mayoralty.
“I’m going to give 1,000 percent, everything I have, to make sure that this year we reduce crime,” Johnson said, noting that he remains loyal to the mayor despite making the plan public before telling him.
Johnson’s proposal would have the 100 additional officers assigned to a new unit along the waterfront to cope with the many nightclubs and the two gambling casinos expected to begin operations within two years.
Johnson said the new unit would end the current practice of siphoning off officers from other units to cope with crime along the river, thereby enhancing safety in neighborhoods across the city.
“We know that the casinos are coming. We know traffic is coming and crime is coming and other problems, so to have an entertainment district with an additional hundred police officers will benefit everyone,” Johnson said. “We won’t have to borrow from the districts or [the traffic unit].”
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