NEWARK, NJ – Newark City Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose was recognized today by the New Jersey District Attorney for his exceptional contributions to cooperative law enforcement in New Jersey, US Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
“As I have said many times, Director Ambrose is a national treasure,” said US attorney Carpenito. “Through his leadership, we have benefited from unprecedented collaboration and proactive involvement in our efforts to suppress crime in the great city of Newark. For the past five years, he has reshaped the Newark Police Department under the Department of Justice’s assent decree and has achieved record levels of crime reduction in the city. “
As Head of the City of Newark Public Safety Department, Director Ambrose has fostered collaborative, productive working relationships among partners at the federal, state and local levels, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Newark Police Department, Essex County Attorney’s Office and the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau, the New Jersey State Police, the New Jersey Attorney General, the New Jersey Homeland Security and Preparedness Office, and numerous other state and local government agencies and police departments. The information sharing and investigative partnerships that have emerged from these relationships have proven critical to the investigation, prosecution and suppression of violent crime in and around Newark City.
Among other things, during the tenure of Director Ambrose, the Newark Violent Crime Initiative (VCI) was awarded an attorney general by the then US Attorney General William P. Barr in October 2019. The Newark VCI was founded in August 2017 as a community-wide cooperative in efforts to combat violent crime in and around Newark. As part of this partnership, federal, state, county and city authorities work together, exchange information and pool resources in order to prosecute violent criminals who endanger the security of the community. In addition to improving the community, the Newark VCI has strengthened relationships among federal, state, county, and city authorities, thanks to the trust of the participants.
The community-wide, collaborative approach of the VCI has a strong influence on the improvement of the community. In part because of the VCI’s focused efforts, Newark was able to reduce the number of gunfight victims across the city by 30 percent between 2017 and 2018. In 2019, the number of shooting victims and shooting incidents decreased by a further 39 percent compared to the same period in 2018. That same year, Newark homicides hit their lowest level in nearly six decades. And in 2020, a year that saw violent crime increased in various locations across the country, including other New Jersey cities, Newark kept the number of homicides equally low.
Director Ambrose has also worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Guardian, announced by the U.S. Department of Justice in November 2019, which is a targeted approach to reducing gun crime. Project Guardian is based on five core principles, including coordinated law enforcement and improved information sharing. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020, US prosecutors brought gun-related charges against 342 people. Of these individuals, 252 were previously convicted felons who were prohibited from possession of firearms and nearly 90 possessed firearms for promotion or in connection with drug trafficking or violent crimes 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 from Farleigh Dickinson University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. In 1986, Director Ambrose joined the Newark Police Department as a police officer, and rose to chief of police in 1999 and director of police in 2006. From 2006 to 2008, Director Ambrose served as an undersheriff in Essex County. He became the chief detective for the Essex County Attorney’s Office. In January 2016, Director Ambrose accepted Mayor Ras Baraka’s invitation to become the first Newark City Public Safety Director overseeing the consolidation of police, fire and emergency management operations. As a director, he oversees more than 1,960 employees, including 996 sworn police officers, 611 firefighters and 346 civilian employees, and manages a budget of more than $ 200 million.