Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Public Safety Director Brian A. O’Hara, Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, and Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery Director Lakeesha Eure addressed the recent gun violence during today’s announcement of the construction of a state-of-the-art public safety training facility in the City’s South Ward, under development by Brandywine Financial Group.

View the press conference at Facebook Public Safety Press Conference Video.

“We cannot tolerate arbitrary violence and wanton crime in our community,” Mayor Baraka said. “We have the opportunity to be the best-in-class at reducing violence and crime in our city. You will see police presence and police response to acts of destruction and chaos, like recent shootings involving children and grandmothers. We will not allow this city—as we have come such a long way—to deteriorate, into a city of lawlessness. And the development of this new public safety training facility is a long-awaited project that will extend the safety footprint of the City of Newark.”

“Newark Police Officers, along with our federal, state and county law enforcement partners, are working extremely hard to address gun violence in our city,” Director O’Hara said. “So far this year, more than 500 illegal guns have been removed from the streets of Newark. Mayor Baraka is using every resource available to address the problem of gun violence. And thanks to him, we’re standing here today to ensure that our officers have access to the most extensive training available in a state-of-the-art police and fire training complex.”

“The Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery is working to get to the root cause of the issues surrounding gun violence,” Director Eure said. “We are working directly with individuals through 16 community-based organizations, including: Newark Community Street Team, Newark Anti-Violence Coalition, Newark Community Solutions, Newark Police Division, Brick City Peace Collective, Newark Public Schools, and The Hubb, to address the trauma that produces violence. We invite all Newark residents to attend our 24 Hours of Peace event this Friday to stand with us in solidarity of peace.”

The City of Newark’s upcoming 24 Hours of Peace event will be held at Broad and West Market Streets, beginning at 6 p.m., Friday, September 3, and continuing to 6 p.m., Saturday, September 4. The event’s theme is “Back Together Again,” and will feature performances by KRS One, Freeway, Beanie Sigel, Jadakiss, and more.

The new public safety training facility project, under development by Brandywine Financial Services Companies, will be used to train Newark police and fire personnel, revitalizing the site of the former William H. Brown Academy. The 100,000 square-feet facility will be equipped with computer labs, an auditorium, parking lots, modern classrooms, a top floor running track, a community engagement room, virtual training room and a scenario training room.

“Brandywine Financial is pleased to serve the City of Newark as developer of its new Public Safety Training Facility,” said Eric Moore, President of Brandywine Financial. “Our goal is to ensure that the facility supports the needs of Newark police and firefighters down to the most intricate detail. We will provide hands-on oversight of the building project and will maintain communication with the Department of Public Safety to ensure that they are apprised of our progress throughout the construction process.”

In addition to providing Newark’s police officers and firefighters with a centralized facility, the building will also accommodate police-community town hall meetings and will host training programs for the city’s Citizens and Clergy Public Safety Academy along with other public safety-related community groups.

Building of the new facility will begin by year-end, with an anticipated completion date during the fourth quarter of 2023.

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