HUD and JCHA Board Approve Lease Agreement that Provides Significant Cost Savings While Creating 24-hour Police Presence as the Administration Continues to Expand City Services to Underserved Communities
JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea announced today that Jersey City will be the only city in New Jersey to locate its police headquarters in federal public housing, providing 24-hour police presence and creating a model for other cities as the administration continues to dramatically improve public safety and bring city services to underserved communities.
The move also provides a significant cost savings to the city, as rent will be less than half of what is currently paid for police headquarters in Journal Square and emergency management storage facilities.
“This is huge benefit not only for the residents of Ward B and Marion Gardens, but for all of Jersey City as we fulfill our pledge to bring city services out of downtown and into those communities that have been underserved,” said Mayor Fulop.
“Our police leadership will be in constant communication with the residents, which is central to enhancing public safety and strengthening community relations. This is a unique venture that can serve as a national model of police and community partnerships.”
While many cities, like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, have police units dedicated to patrolling public housing, Jersey City will be the first city in New Jersey to locate its police headquarters in federal public housing. The move sends an important message to the residents and the city at large that issues of public safety will be addressed in the areas that have previously been neglected or underserved.
Last week, the Jersey City Housing Authority board of commissioners approved the 10-year lease agreement with the City, which provides for two five-year renewals and which was first approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Under the terms of the lease, the City will pay less than half in rents at $207,000 at Marion Gardens compared with approximately $500,000 annually for leases at One Journal Square and an Office of Emergency Management warehouse.
Offices that will be moved to Marion Gardens include the Public Safety Director and the Chief of Police, Internal Affairs, the Special Investigations Unit, and police fiscal and other administrative offices. The Office of Emergency Management will move sheltering and other preparedness supplies and equipment, such as generators and emergency meals, which are currently stored at a privately-owned warehouse to Marion Gardens.
“We know that one of the most effective ways to improve public safety is to have officers out in the community getting to know the residents and business owners,” said Director Shea. “Moving police headquarters to Marion Gardens brings that to the next level by having our police command integrated into the community so we can observe and learn first-hand the day-to-day issues and work together with the residents.”
Since taking office in July of 2013, Mayor Fulop has hired 122 new police officers, and another 17 officers are currently in the police academy graduating in October. An additional class of 40 officers is scheduled to enter the police academy in the fall. The Fulop Administration has also redeployed dozens of police officers from special units and administrative posts to patrol, increasing the number of officers interfacing directly with the community.
The approach of locating police headquarters in public housing is similar to what the Fulop Administration did when expanding its police minority recruitment program by opening an office in the HUB on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. Locating the office closer to the community creates visibility and access for residents seeking to join the Police Department. As a result of the Fulop Administration efforts, of the new officers hired since 2013, about 70 percent have been minorities, including 15 African- American, 58 Hispanic and 10 Asian officers.
Following Council approval of the lease, which will be on the next Council agenda, the City will begin the process of renovations to the facility with an anticipated move in early 2016.