NEWARK, N.J. – City of Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose was recognized today by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey for his exceptional contributions to cooperative law enforcement in the State of New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
“As I have said many times, Director Ambrose is a national treasure,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “Through his leadership, we have benefited from an unprecedented level of cooperation and proactive participation in our efforts to suppress crime in the great City of Newark. Over the past five years, he has transformed the Newark Police Department under the Department of Justice’s Consent Decree and produced record levels of crime reduction in this city.”
As the leader of the City of Newark’s Department of Public Safety, Director Ambrose has fostered collaborative, productive working relationships among federal, state, and local partners, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Newark Police Department, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the New Jersey State Police, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness, and numerous other state and local agencies and police departments. The information-sharing and investigative partnerships that have resulted from these relationships has proven critical to investigating, prosecuting, and suppressing violent crime in the City of Newark and surrounding areas.
Among other achievements during Director Ambrose’s tenure, the Newark Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) was awarded an Attorney General’s Award by then-U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr in October 2019. The Newark VCI was formed in August 2017 as a community-wide cooperative effort aimed at combatting violent crime in and around Newark. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county, and city agencies collaborate, share intelligence, and pool resources to prosecute violent offenders who endanger the safety of the community. The Newark VCI has not only improved the community, but has strengthened relationships among federal, state, county and city agencies as a result of the trust developed among the participants.
The VCI’s community-wide, collaborative approach has had a powerful impact on improving the community. Due in part to the VCI’s concentrated efforts, between 2017 and 2018, Newark saw a 30 percent reduction in the number of shooting victims city-wide. In 20l9, the number of shooting victims and shooting incidents declined another 39 percent when compared to the same time period in 2018. In that same year, the number of murders in Newark reached its lowest level in nearly six decades. And in 2020, a year in which violent crime spiked in various places across the country, including other New Jersey cities, Newark maintained the same low in the number of murders.
Director Ambrose has also worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Guardian, which was announced by the Department in November 2019 and is a targeted approach to reducing gun crime. Project Guardian is based on five core principles, which include coordinated prosecution and improved information sharing. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged 342 individuals with gun offenses. Of those individuals, 252 were prior convicted felons who were prohibited from possessing firearms, and almost 90 possessed firearms in furtherance of, or in relation to, drug trafficking offenses or crimes of violence, such as carjackings and shootings. Many of these cases were the result of close coordination and information sharing with Director Ambrose and the Newark Department of Public Safety.
Director Ambrose was born and raised in Newark. He received both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Farleigh Dickinson University. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy. In 1986, Director Ambrose joined the Newark Police Department as a police officer, rising through the ranks to become the Chief of Police in 1999 and the Police Director in 2006. Director Ambrose then served as Essex County Undersheriff from 2006 to 2008, at which point he became Chief of Detectives for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. In January 2016, Director Ambrose accepted Mayor Ras Baraka’s invitation to become the City of Newark’s first ever Director of Public Safety, overseeing the consolidation of police, fire, and emergency management operations. As Director, he oversees more than 1,960 employees, comprising 996 sworn police officers, 611 firefighters, and 346 civilian employees, and manages a budget that exceeds $200 million.