Around my block, there is a friendly cop who often has a warm smile. In Forest Hills, located in Newark, New Jersey, one can see him at the local grocery store or just strolling through town. The passersby wave at this officer, who is especially good to the youngsters. His name is Kennedy Murray named after President Kennedy. His father, Detective J. Murray, decided to give him the president’s name after Kennedy made a historic visit to the Newark airport in the 1950’s. He is one of the many heroes who serve in the line of duty to protect us.
In choosing to become an officer, Murray has followed a family tradition. His father, his brother, and even some of his cousins were all police officers. He has served the Newark community for twenty-two and a half years. He gives young people, who plan to become police officers, the following advice:
“If you go to college, your major should be criminal justice”, Murray said. “Some positions in law enforcement do not require so much schooling; however, an educated cop is a smarter cop.”
Murray’s typical workday involves issuing arrest warrants. Early in the morning, he must review each case with his partner to discuss the order in which each matter will be handled. Sometimes he encounters hostility from individuals, but he always chooses peaceful solutions rather than first resorting to violent measures.
Keeping citizens safe and transforming the lives of troubled individuals is one of the most fulfilling aspects of Murray’s career.
“It is rewarding to take violent criminals off the streets,” Murray said. “Individuals who have drug problems can get help in correctional facilities. There are certain services that they can get to beat their drug habit. Sometimes homeless people fall into the loopholes. Giving them a place to stay and assisting them transforms them into better people.”
“The most challenging part of my job is arresting individuals who have dependents,” Murray said. “You must make sure that the needs of the dependents are met.”
Murray believes that crime prevention is of utmost importance for all people. Civilians must understand how crime prevention programs work.
“Individuals from the community get together to form neighborhood watch groups,” Murray explained. They find out who their neighbors are and exchange phone numbers, so they know exactly who lives next door. If something unusual happens, they make contacts with the police agency to help assist them.”
All individuals who are interested in joining the neighborhood watch should contact their local police department. They can also log on to the following website: www.newarkpd.org.
“It is important for all us to be involved in preventing crime in our neighborhoods,” Murray said. “All of us need to protect our interests. We need to keep a watchful eye on our children, cars, investments, and property. We need to know what fits and what does not fit.”