Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy won reappointment by the narrowest of margins last week. The Wall Street Journal says the struggle to keep his job might pale when compared to the battles he faces at the start of his second term. Murders are on the rise; the department faces civil-rights scrutiny; an officers union said it doesn’t believe in him; and budget cuts are looming. “The job has never been easy,” McCarthy said, adding, “I’m really confident we’re going to come out of this and be better than ever before.”
It was only six months ago, back on April 1, that the Brick City celebrated its first full calendar month without a homicide since 1966. Then came a very difficult summer. Between June 1 and Sept. 1, there were 35 homicides in Newark, the most since 1990. Eight more murders in September spiked the city’s homicide rate up 25 percent over last year. Violent crimes–homicides, rapes, robberies and assaults–are up 6.4 percent for the year. The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking an independent federal monitor to oversee the police department, alleging a variety of civil-rights violations. Facing a $7 million budget gap, McCarthy has had to work up a “doomsday” scenario of laying off 167 of his 1,300 officers coupled with an across-the-board demotion and pay cuts for all 108 captains, lieutenants and sergeants. The supervising officers’ union responded, not surprisingly, with a no-confidence vote in him.