Newark, New Jersey – Switch up in Public Safety Director and multiple city department roles

Numerous role changes were made in Newark this week including the Public Safety Department directorial position and new department heads at City Hall.

In the Public Safety Department, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka appointed Brian O’Hara to a new role as deputy mayor of Strategic Initiatives for Police Services/Public Safety.

O’Hara previously served as director of the Public Safety Department after Baraka appointed him to the post in February 2021. Raul Malave, who served as assistant public safety director, was appointed interim director of the Public Safety Department as the city now conducts a search for a permanent director.

The directorial role change comes after the city experienced a slight uptick in violent crime and non-fatal shootings in 2021.

According to the data reported by city officials, violent crime in Newark rose by 4% in 2021 compared to 2020, with homicides up by 6%. Non-fatal shootings also rose by 13% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to authorities.

Baraka said in a written response that the city “needed an individual to step up the city’s efforts to reduce crime by focusing on developing strategies to reimagine public safety, help formulate policies, procedures for all public safety projects undertaken by the Police Division and the Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery.”

The Newark Public Safety Department also saw the appointment of a new acting police chief. Baraka announced that Emanuel “Manny” Miranda was appointed to the role, having served 21 years on the force. Miranda will succeed Chief Lee Douglas, who is retiring from the Police Division after 25 years of service.

City Hall will also see new faces in multiple department directorial roles. As Baraka enters his third mayoral term, he appointed new directors and acting directors in five departments: Engineering, Office of Emergency Management, Health and Community Wellness, Alcohol Beverage Control Unit of the Department of Public Safety, and Recreation, Cultural Affairs, and Senior Services.