Atlantic City’s newest group of officers are just one piece in a coordinated effort to make the city clean and safe, officials said Tuesday as they welcomed the special law enforcement officer IIs.
The 20 men will add to a presence in the Tourism District that also includes a 10-officer focused police detail, about 60 Boardwalk ambassadors and 34 casino security personnel biking the wooden path.
“This is a culmination of a group effort,” Public Safety Director Willie Glass said surrounded by the mixed group during a news conference near the Boardwalk police substation. “We understand that we have to do this together or we fail, and failure is not an option.”
Glass, a retired deputy chief of the city’s Police Department, said when he was a young officer, the police often trained with other agencies such as the State Police and FBI, and they worked together well.
“The bumps in the road were at the higher levels,” he said.
Now, the road is cleared.
“As someone who is mostly in Trenton, I couldn’t be more pleased with the level of cooperation,” state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said, praising the leadership, including the mayor, police Chief Ernest Jubilee, Glass and Tourism District Commander Tom Gilbert.
“These officers mean we will have optimal police presence on the Boardwalk and around the casinos,” Chiesa said.
That will allow some of the more veteran officers to move into the neighborhoods, “so everybody wins,” Mayor Lorenzo Langford said.
“This means a dual benefit for residents and visitors alike,” he said. “My focus has been making sure that we exhibit the same level of attention to the neighborhoods that we do everywhere else.
“It’s huge,” said David Rebuck, director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement. “And we’re not done yet.”
The move is just part of the coordinated plans to make Atlantic City “clean and safe,” the goal Gov. Chris Christie tasked the leaders with when he announced the creation of a Tourism District.
Chiesa’s office also has a leadership role in policing, with the Atlantic City Violent Crime Task Force that also includes members of the Police Department, State Police and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
The county office’s new head, acting Prosecutor Jim McClain, also attended Tuesday’s announcement.
“This is a very good sign,” he said. “You have disparate parts of law enforcement working together to create a very visible presence.”
“Most of us learn when we’re young to be in places that are well lit and around other people,” Chiesa said. The new Boardwalk lighting and added security fulfill both of those needs, he said.
Langford said stemming the violence in the city’s neighborhoods also takes cooperation. “It requires attention not only from law enforcement but from the residents,” he said. “As long as that cooperation continues to occur, things will improve.”
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