Longtime Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose will retire in March after 34 years on the force.
Ambrose's final day in the division will be on March 31, Mayor Ras J. Baraka said.
“When I appointed Director Ambrose as Public Safety Director, I knew that his leadership, work ethic, integrity and love for our city is what we needed to fulfill my vision of combining police, fire, and emergency management into one department,” Baraka said.
“His service to the City of Newark has been paramount. I appreciate all that he has given, and I hope for nothing but the best in his retirement.”
A Newark native, Ambrose decided to become a police officer when he was just five years old during a snowstorm, after seeing a lone Newark patrol car cruising down the snow-covered street.
“Right then I knew what I wanted to do,” he said.
In 1986, he did just that: Joined the force.
Ambrose rose quickly through the ranks under the tutelage of former Police Chief Joe Santiago to become chief by 1999.
He later served as Police Director, Undersheriff for the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, and Chief of Detectives for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, before becoming Public Safety Director for the City of Newark.
Ambrose has been in his current role since 2016.
Ambrose has led the reforms under the 2014 federal consent decree, which has made the Newark police more accountable and transparent in their engagement with the public.
Every Newark patrol officer is now equipped with a body-worn camera and a dashboard camera, and is trained in de-escalation tactics. Every officer also undergoes bias perception training, and civil rights oriented “stop, search, and arrest” training.
Also during his tenure, homicides in 2019 fell to their lowest since 1961, and most violent crimes have dropped by double digits every year. Likewise, complaints against officers have dropped by double digits each year. Last year, the Newark police removed 496 guns from the street and did not fire a single shot.
Effective Jan. 27, all plainclothes Newark police officers will wear bodycams.
“I praise the men and women of the Newark Department of Public Safety, along with our residents and clergy members," Ambrose said.
"There’s still a lot of work to be done by my successor, but I’m pleased to be leaving the Police and Fire Divisions and the Office of Emergency Management in a better place than it was when I arrived five years ago.
"Mayor Baraka has been my strongest supporter, a great boss and will remain a good friend."
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