Newark is reducing the police force outside the Prudential Center because of a feud between Mayor Booker, and the Devils over cost sharing…although some think it’s because the mayor didn’t get tickets to see Springsteen when he plays there next month.

Or so the story goes.

Either way, fans loose.

Or will they?

Especially now since the Devils will be in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoff series.

It was always going to be a question as to whether fans would flock to the new Prudential Center; which our esteemed morning legend Jim Gearhart would proclaim as Mayor “for life” Sharpe James’ “Pork Palace!”

Will you still go to see the Devils now that they’re in the playoffs despite there being fewer cops outside?

However they do have their priorities on where they spend it.

Witness the costs associated with the recent funeral of pop diva Whitney Houston according to this report:

Newark police spent $187,621 of its $4 million overtime budget on costs associated with Houston’s funeral, police spokesman Sgt. Ronald Glover said.
Newark police had nearly 200 officers assigned to New Hope Baptist Church, Whigham’s Funeral Home and the Newark Club, where the family held a repast after the services, according to a copy of Newark’s detailed security plan obtained by The Star-Ledger in February.

The Essex County Sheriff’s Office spent about $2,000 in overtime, according to Sheriff Armando Fontoura, who said he used members of his "volunteer deputy division" to stave off manpower costs. The only officers who required overtime were the K-9 and Bomb Squad units who checked the church in the hours leading up to the funeral.

Devils fans noticed a shrunken police presence at Saturday’s last regular-season game.

Mayor Corey Booker and police officials said the cutback was planned before Newark last week lost a long-running dispute over revenue-sharing with the Devils. They say more officers are needed in neighborhoods amid growing retirements.

I don’t think anyone can argue against putting more cops in neighborhoods, especially since it seems every day there’s another report of a shooting in one of Newark’s tough wards.

(In the latest incident, Pastor Donald Hughes of the Praise Tabernacle Worship Ministries of God in South Brunswick was shot dead at his Newark townhouse two nights before Easter Sunday, according to authorities and family members. The shooter also attacked Hughes’ family outside the home. Investigators don’t have an exact motive, but robbery may have been what sparked the shooting.)

In any event, Mayor ‘tweet”….uhhh, Booker took to his Twitter account after the story was published to comment about the police detail during Devils games.

One of his twitter followers criticized the move to reduce the security force and tweeted, “If someone gets hurt outside the arena it’s on you now.” The mayor tweeted back, “If someone gets hurt ANYWHERE in Newark its on me.”

Michael Spitz, a season ticket holder from Union Township, said it was obvious the police presence had been scaled back after last Saturday’s game. "When we left the arena about 6 p.m., it seemed there were throngs of people crossing the street and no police," he said. "They weren’t there."

Several, including Spitz, took to Twitter to ask Booker what had happened to the police detail. Tweeted one: "@corybooker will you be happy when someone gets mugged at a playoff game? It’s time to get past your disagreement and make Newark safer."

Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio is promising more police for Stanley Cup playoff games, but leaves open the possibility of reducing the size of the Prudential Center detail even further, depending on public safety needs, adding that the arena may have to pay a little extra for safety in the future.

Booker insisted that the arena was one of the safest parts of the city and until now, Newark has gone above and beyond what is practiced in other area arenas.

"There are still police out there as well as security cameras and there should be no danger to fans coming to the arena whatsoever," he said.

In any event, would you still go to a Devil’s Playoff Game despite there being fewer cops on patrol outside the Prudential Center?