After years of cutting in other areas of government and trimming police and fire departments through attrition, cities throughout New Jersey recently have announced a striking number of layoffs in public-safety workers as municipal leaders seek to fill budget gaps created by lower-than-expected revenue, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Newark laid off 167 police officers and also cut 130 firefighter positions through attrition this year. Atlantic City has laid off 60 police officers and 30 firefighters in 2010. Camden may lay off half of its police officers and a third of its firefighters next month.
In Jersey City, Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy is seeking givebacks from police and firefighters to prevent laying off 82 police officers. Trenton Mayor Tony Mack has announced that he would be able to save 61 fire positions and 111 police jobs, in part through the aid of grants. Suburban towns have not been spared and, in many cases, were hit even earlier. Cherry Hill laid off six police officers in June, Collingswood let go three firefighters in 2009, and Winslow Township cut eight police officers last year. For firefighters, the situation in New Jersey “is the worst that we’ve seen it anywhere,” said Dominick Marino, president of the state’s Professional Firefighters Association.