Plainfield public safety rally aims to find solutions

PLAINFIELD, NJ — On Friday, July 8, a public safety rally was held at 7 p.m. in response to the recent shootings in the city. The rally was titled, “Finding Solutions” and it was arranged by Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp. Other attendees included Public Safety Director Carl Riley, representatives of Plainfield’s educators and representatives from faith-based organizations.

Several topics were addressed, including a status of investigations, an update on the Youth Council, an update on the Summer Youth Employment Program and Parks and Recreation Summer Programs. The mayor gave a speech regarding these various programs and how they can engage and capture the interest of youth so they don’t remain idle. He spoke about the long-range vision of these initiatives and the importance of the support of the community in combatting crime.

“As far as the investigations are concerned, one arrest has been made and they are actively pursuing another suspect in the shooting of 37-year-old Willie Lee Major,” Director of Communications Jazz Clayton-Hunt told LocalSource. “Major was fatally shot in May. Major was believed to not be the intended victim.”

The mayor addressed the ongoing investigations in his speech. He assured the public that they are actively pursuing another suspect. He believes that justice will be served.

Let me immediately address some of the steps we have taken,” said Mapp. “Our police department, working with the Union County Prosecutor’s office, has made an arrest in one of the recent shootings and is actively pursuing another suspect. I will assure everyone, that the Plainfield Police Division and the Union County Homicide Task Force will continue to pursue justice for the victims and their families.While we cannot currently share all the details of the ongoing investigations, please know that we are working hard and moving swiftly to bring these criminals to justice and have them pay for their crime. It won’t replace the lives lost but our hope is that we can stop them preying on our community. Getting justice will help us all feel a little bit safer.”

In addition to addressing the recent crime, he also explained that there are preventative actions in place to avoid future crimes. These programs have been launched by the police force. They are also implementing new policies and working to remove illegal guns from the streets.

“In more long-term preventive measures, our local police force has launched several programs to help us be safer and happier together,” Mapp said. “We are employing daily real-time analysis of incidents and crimes. We now have rapid deployment to address changes in incidents. We have created  division-wide community policing. We are now practicing smart policing, we are using more intelligence-led policing and utilizing problem-solving policing concepts. The introduction of these practices represents a new management and organizational philosophy. And all the research evidence we have says that these practices will help us have a more efficient and responsive police department. In other strategic moves, cameras have been installed citywide and are constantly being monitored at the police station. This gives us more eyes on the ground at all times, and they have the added advantage of being connected to a private security monitoring system. This works in tandem with increased lighting in neighborhoods all across the city.”

A major concern about the youth is the amount of idle time they have to wander the streets. In order to address this issue, another initiative underway is the revival of the Plainfield Youth Council. Its mission to the strength the communication between the youth and the administration.

“The Youth Council has as its objectives visiting community centers, meeting with community leaders, attending and sponsoring community meetings and taking any other actions as necessary to fulfill its charter,” said Mapp. “The Youth Council will provide a direct line of communication between the youth of Plainfield and my administration and will provide leadership opportunities for our teenage citizens. It will serve as a vehicle for open communication with the youth on any issues which may impact them, as well as regarding any pertinent current issues. The Youth Council will also actively recruit youth volunteers and educate them about any opportunities to serve the community.”

The Summer Youth Employment Program has employed 170 young people this year,” Hunt told LocalSource. “The six-week program places dozens of youth varying in ages, at 33 government agencies and nonprofit sites. Although the Summer Youth Employment Program spans over 30 years, this year will be the first that there will be an educational component.”

Parks and Recreations has worked hard to ensure that all three public pools are open until 6 p.m. each day,” said Hunt. “Breakfast and lunch are provided for pool goers each day. The parks around Plainfield are open each day. There are fishing opportunities, as the ponds were populated earlier in the year.”