Last year, I addressed this critical issue many times. There is still much work to be done as staffing levels of both the Atlantic City, New Jersey Police and Fire Departments remain too low.

The Atlantic City, New Jersey Police and Fire Departments do a great job.

Since the state of New Jersey took over the operations of the Atlantic City government under former Governor Chris Christie … the state has made reckless and dangerous cuts to the staffing levels in both the Atlantic City Police and Fire Departments.

The state has falsely based their view of the public safety staffing needs on Atlantic City having approximately 38,000 full-time residents.

This is beyond shortsighted. The true staffing requirements must be based upon the reality that Atlantic City is a world class, seaside destination and the resort capital of the east - where more than 27 million visitors a year come to visit Atlantic City.

The visitors to Atlantic City are up almost 20% since 2021 to 2022, according to visitnewjersey.org

Yet, properly staffing Atlantic City’s public safety needs has not been a priority for the state of New Jersey.

Fortunately, the state of New Jersey under Governor Phil Murphy is beginning to improve this disparity - however, more must be done.

Atlantic City has had 5 murders in less than 1 month during 2024.

The state of New Jersey has always failed to incorporate this unambiguous fact when they review 40 hour equivalent positions within public safety.

Vincent “Skip” Granese is a retired Atlantic City Deputy Fire Chief.

The state of New Jersey trusts him to review fire department staffing levels to investigate where operational efficiencies can be achieved … but, also to determine when and where additional staffing is required.

Granese is presently reviewing the total operations of the Atlantic City Fire Department.

Granese has gone about his work both methodically and quietly.

Granese’ conclusions will be integral in setting the proper staffing levels required to provide proper fire safety in Atlantic City.

The Atlantic City Fire Department has finally received a much-needed infusion of staffing. Much more still needs to be done.

There were many more police officers before the casino era than there are now. That’s madness.

During the 3rd Quarter of last year, Atlantic City Police Chief James Sarkos confirmed that following a 28-week Atlantic County Police Training course, one sworn Atlantic City police officer and 11 Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class II were members of a Class of 27 officers.

Sarkos and Deputy Chief Stacy Herrerias were featured and they presented each Atlantic City officer with their graduation certificate at the graduation ceremony.

Sarkos also confirmed that the new officers will be assigned within the Operations Division.

The graduating officers with awards received are as follows:

Rashawn Cochran (graduated as police officer).

Thomas Egan (Thomas J. McMeekin Jr. Emergency Vehicle Operations Award).

Danny Feliciano

Nicholas Fifer

Odalys Filippi-Sarmiento

Ridge Gradel

Vincent Nguyen

Brandon Solano

Casey Tomasello

Bryan Tracy

Andrew Xiques

Patrick Yates

The ceremony took place at The Atlantic City Convention Center on September 28, 2023.

The collaboration between the state and Atlantic City is beginning to achieve progress.

Much more is still needed.

SOURCES: James Sarkos, Atlantic City Chief of Police & Lieutenant Kevin Fair, Public Information Officer.

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