NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Though it is still dominated by caucasian officers, the New Brunswick Police Department is somewhat more representative of the city it serves after a new round of hiring, according to data provided by the agency.
In the aftermath of the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the New York Times reported that the NBPD was 70% white.
Under Civil Service guidelines, the city hired eleven new officers in 2011, effectively lowering the percentage of caucasian officers to 62.6% of the force.
Four new Caucasian officers joined the New Brunswick Police Department in 2014, as did four Hispanics, and three African-Americans, according to records provided by the department.
According to the documents, the department continues to be majority Caucasian, with 84 of its 134 officers, including three females, identifying as "Caucasian."
By comparison, census data indicates that people who identify as Hispanic or Latino now make up 53.6% of the city, making them the largest ethnic group.
"Whites alone" make up 23.0% of the population, "Black of African American alone" constitute 14.1% of the city, and "Asian alone" stands at 7.9%, accordng to the latest data.
The city's police department includes 24 Hispanics, 17 African-Americans, 3 Lebanese, 2 Asian-Indian, 1 Asian, 1 Pacific Asian, and one officer listed as "Asian (So. American)."
In 2014, the city hired 11 new police officers, largely to replace retiring staff, including two different men with the same first and last name:
- Michael Powers (Caucasian)
- James Bennett (African American)
- Samuel Gomez (Hispanic)
- Robert Triebsh (Caucasian)
- Dorian Minond (Hispanic)
- Michael Kerwin (Caucasian)
- Jose M. Gomez (Hispanic)
- Tamika Baldwin (African-American)
- Phillip Swindell (African-American)
- Jose C. Gomez (Hispanic)
- Brian Bellafronte (Caucasian)
It is not immediately clear if the three new officers with the last name Gomez are related to one another. The department now has 134 sworn officers, in addition to civilian personnel.
The eleven new officers better represent the community based on race, with just over a third of the incoming class made up of Hispanic officers, four in total. An equal number were Caucasian, and three were African-American.
No other races were represented in the new hires, according to the documents provided.
All eleven new officers have lived in New Brunswick recently, according to city officials.
"Civil Service mandates that they be New Brunswick residents from the date of filling out their applications to the date of appointment," said city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw.
Police officers are legally permitted to move out of the city after they apply for employment in it.
According to voter records, of the new officers, Minond and Swindell had recently been registered to vote in the Sixth Ward, and Bellafronte has been registered to vote in the Fourth Ward.
As of 2012, voter records show a Samuel Gomez living in Perth Amboy and a Michael Kerwin living in East Brunswick.
Still, however much of the department's leadership is overwhelmingly white.
Police Director Anthony Caputo, all three NBPD Captains, and all but two of its eight lieutenants are "Caucasian" according to the documents. Michael Bobadilla is the only "Hispanic" Lietuenant, while newly-minted Lt. George Bistany, is listed as "Lebanese."
Among the city's Detectives, the vast majority are also Caucasian, with only one Hispanic, one Asian, and four African-Americans listed on the roster in that rank. By comparison, fourteen detectives were listed as "Caucasian."
The group of Sergeants is slightly more diverse, with eleven Caucasians, four African-Americans, three Hispanics, and one Asian Indian.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.