News Department

Menendez, Booker deliver $2.8M to support NJ’s first responders, families and youth through improved emergency response communication equipment, violence intervention programming

Funding awarded through Congressionally Directed Spending for the Fiscal Year 2023

NEW JERSEY – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both-D-N.J.) announced today a combined total of $2,833,000 to support community projects for the residents of Newton and Jersey City, and patients of Inspira Medical Centers Inc., including for emergency response communications equipment and violence intervention programming.

Newton’s First Response Communications Equipment will receive $1.3 million to update interoperable first response communications systems to answer 911 calls in Newton, Sparta Township, Hardyston Township and Andover.

“First responders run towards dangerous, life threatening situations while leading others to safety, which is why I fought diligently to deliver funding that will improve communications systems, ensuring all emergency services in the region are more reliable and efficient for over 65,000 Sussex County residents,” Menendez said.

Newton’s First Response Communications Equipment will serve over 65,000 residents in Sussex County across the four municipalities, and these updated systems will ensure collective interconnectivity between these agencies that work together during response efforts. Currently, their systems are aged and lacking critical updates that today’s technology offers. As a more rural county in comparison with the rest of the state, some of Sussex County’s municipalities are further apart and take longer distances to travel between. As a result, it is critical that all emergency services are reliable, efficient, and swift in their communications.

Peaceful Families Jersey City will receive $500,000 to expand and provide a full 27-week program for 300 additional individuals. Cumberland County will receive $1,000,000 through Inspira Medical Center’s Youth Violence Cessation Initiative, and will utilize this funding to purchase equipment, supplies, and support a no-cost summer camp for youth residents in the most violence-impacted and disadvantaged areas

“Violence intervention programming at the community level increases safety and improves community partnerships with law enforcement to build safer and stronger neighborhoods. These two programs in Jersey City and Cumberland County will help to end the cycle of violence and provide young people with opportunities to reach their full potential,” Menendez said.

Peaceful Families Jersey City’s program expansion would include additional language access in response to cases and community need, starting with Hindi/Urdu. Unlike most similar programs, it is offered without cost to the participants and reduces barriers to participation that most underserved communities face. The program offers education on abusive behavior, prioritizes offender accountability, and confronts the cognitive-behavioral distortions that support an abusive person’s actions.

Inspira Medical Center’s Youth Violence Cessation Initiative includes ingoing services throughout the year including case management to address physical and mental health, expand access to Police Athletic Leagues, and expand existing programs in schools that focus on life skills and emotional learning. The 2021 NJ County Health Rankings ranked Cumberland County the lowest on Length of Life, Quality of Life, and Social/Economic factors as 17 percent of children live below the poverty line; in Millville and Bridgeton, the rate is much higher at 29 percent and 41 percent respectively. The County also has a violent crime rate that is 7 times greater than the US; and almost 2 times higher than NJ’s, which has an outsized impact in disadvantaged communities of color.

This project provides the recreational, educational, and social programs necessary to prevent gang activity and end the cycle of violence.

“Protecting New Jerseyans and interrupting cycles of violence require community-based solutions and support for vital programs and services,” Booker said. “This funding will invest in initiatives that keep our communities safe and thriving.”

The following grantees received funding, for the corresponding programs: 

Town of Newton

  • First Response Communications Equipment


City of Jersey City

  • Peaceful Families Jersey City


Inspira Medical Centers Inc.

  • Youth Violence Cessation Initiative


 The Senator has been a strong advocate and champion for first responders, families of underserved communities and in the fight to prevent youth violence. In June, Sen. Menendez led the reintroduction in the Senate of the bipartisan Firefighter Cancer Registry Reauthorization Act, which would reauthorize the program, raise the authorized funding level and further prioritize the health and wellness of first responders around the country.

 In May, the Senator cosponsored the reintroduction of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and U.S. Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott’s (D-Va.) Child Care for Working Families Act, comprehensive legislation to tackle the child care crisis and ensure families across America can find and afford the high-quality child care they need. Across the country, far too many families cannot find—or afford—the high-quality child care they need so parents can go to work and children can thrive, and the worsening child care crisis is holding families, child care workers, businesses, and our entire economy back.

In the same month, Sen. Menendez highlighted the $250 million in grant funding for violence intervention programming unlocked by the landmark Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed last June, creating funding for school safety and mental health resources. During the press conference, the Senator along with Newark officials, community violence intervention leaders and gun safety advocates urged the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to fully implement federal rules outlined in the BSCA to help close the gun seller background check loophole.

In March, Sen. Menendez joined with Jennifer Webb-McRae, Cumberland County Prosecutor, community partners, and representatives from Inspira Health, to announce $1 million in Fiscal Year 2023 federal funding for the launch of a no-cost summer camp as well as year-round support services for youth in violence-impacted and disadvantaged areas the county. The funding is part of the $181 million for community projects that Sen. Menendez secured in the government spending bill that passed the Senate in December 2022.  The projects the Senator fought for in the funding bill will make critical investments in education, health care services, infrastructure, and public safety and will help improve communities across the state.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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