Former Capital Health Mercer Campus Receiving Building Catches Fire

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TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) The Trenton Fire Department was dispatched to the former Capital Health Mercer Medical Campus which has been abandoned for a number of years on Sunday afternoon firefighters arrived with smoke showing from the rear of the building at the loading dock receiving building from Rutherford Ave across from the Gregory Elementary school. The fire department indicated that it was gas tanks in the basement where the fire was contained to. No injuries were reported to firefighters or the public Trenton City hall stated. The Trenton Police arson investigator is investigating the fire.

The Fire department would like remind the public that they can call any Firehouse and they can get people can get a free fire detector. 

Mayor Reed Gusciora and Trenton Police Department Announce 45% Year-to-Date Decrease in Homicide Rate

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TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) According to Trenton Police Department preliminary statistics, the City of Trenton achieved a 45% reduction in the number of homicides during the 2022 calendar year.

While major cities in the United States experienced a 5.0% decrease in homicides, these cities also saw a 20% increase in thefts and robberies. Consistent with national trends, the City of Trenton experienced a 20% increase in robberies during 2022. However, the Capital City achieved a 27% reduction in burglaries in the same year; the growing prevalence of video doorbells have aided local law enforcement, including TPD, in improving their burglary clearance rates.

The City of Trenton recovered 354 firearms in 2022, which marks a 9% increase compared with 2021. Additionally, while aggravated assaults increased by 7% last year, there was a 23% decrease in the sexual assault rate.

In Mayor W. Reed Gusciora’s first term, he opened the Trenton Real-Time Crime Center with the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) to prevent violent crime, launched the Trenton Community Street Teams where civilian leaders mediate neighborhood conflicts before they become violent, hired more than 200 city youth during summers to provide alternatives to employment in the shadow economy, funded the city’s Summer Youth Camp to support the positive development of city children, and hired mental health counselors and dozens of new police officers.

Trenton Police Department Director Steve Wilson affirmed, “Over the past year, we have prioritized investing in programs and initiatives that can make our streets safer. We are grateful to our local county, state, and federal partners for their support and collaboration. Real progress on reducing crime is being made in the Capital City and I look forward to working with our new Trenton City Council to make even greater progress.”

This past year, the City of Trenton opened Trenton RISE, a community-based youth center, to provide at-risk youth a safe space to study and play before or after school. Additionally, the Mayor’s Office facilitated the hiring of dozens of formerly incarcerated city residents through its Office on Returning Citizens, ended the seven-year ban on hiring formerly incarcerated residents, and created the largest civilian public safety panel in the State: the 11-member CHANGE Committee.

Mayor Gusciora remarked, “In 2022, we worked hard to achieve urban violent crime reduction. We are innovating to establish a new public safety standard and partnering with state and area wide stakeholders for the sake of our citizens. In this, we’re doing it together.”

Trenton Police Officer Nicholas Piotrowski Indicted On One Count Of Official Misconduct.

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TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) A state grand jury has voted to file a criminal charge against a Trenton police officer in connection with the officer’s use of pepper spray during an encounter with Joseph Ahr Sr., who died weeks after being pepper sprayed during his arrest in 2020.

The Office of the Attorney General today announced Officer Nicholas Piotrowski was indicted on one count of official misconduct.

New Jersey residents called to serve on the grand jury decided that the charge should be filed relating to the force that Officer Piotrowski used during the arrest of Joseph Ahr Sr., 64, of Trenton. The grand jury did not return charges directly related to the death of Mr. Ahr, who was hospitalized and later died following that arrest on July 6, 2020.

“Police officers are required to be measured in their use of force in every encounter, even under challenging conditions,” said Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “In New Jersey, we take this obligation seriously and my office thoroughly and independently investigates and presents to a grand jury every death that occurs during an encounter with law enforcement. This officer resorted to using pepper spray during a confrontation with a civilian in a manner that was unnecessary and contrary to his training, mishandling a situation that could have concluded so much differently.”

“Under the law and the Attorney General’s Use of Force Policy, officers are permitted to use only force which is reasonable and necessary,” said Thomas J. Eicher, Executive Director of OPIA. “The grand jury found that Officer Piotrowski should be indicted for official misconduct because his force did not meet that basic standard.”

The fatal police encounter was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to the grand jury in accordance with Directive 2019-4, the “Independent Prosecutor Directive,” issued in 2019. In July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (“SOPs”) to ensure these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, and with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the Independent Prosecutor Directive.

The investigation of this officer-involved fatality included interviews of witnesses, collection of forensic evidence, review of video footage, and autopsy results from the medical examiner. After hearing testimony and evidence from the investigation, the grand jury concluded its deliberations on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, and voted “true bill,” meaning the grand jury determined this criminal charge against the officer was warranted.

According to the investigation, officers of the Trenton Police Department responded to Mr. Ahr’s home in the 700 block of Monmouth Street around 5:30 p.m. on July 6, 2020, after police received a call from Mr. Ahr’s son. Trenton officers arrived and initially spoke to the son, who answered the front door. Joseph Ahr Sr. then came to the door to speak to the officers. After the son went into the house, Mr. Ahr remained on the porch and engaged in a verbal dispute with the officers.

Officers tried to detain Mr. Ahr and he pulled away. Officers then took Mr. Ahr to the ground, restrained him, and handcuffed him. During the encounter, Officer Piotrowski struck Mr. Ahr, Sr. and deployed pepper spray at close range directly in his face on multiple occasions. While the officers were handcuffing Mr. Ahr, he stated several times that he could not breathe. After he was sitting up, Mr. Ahr complained about other medical issues, and officers summoned emergency medical personnel. EMS personnel responded to the scene, examined Mr. Ahr, treated him with oxygen, and transported him to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. Mr. Ahr was admitted to the hospital, where he died 18 days later on July 24, 2020.

The medical examiner concluded that the manner of death was homicide, with the cause of death listed as “acute respiratory failure following the use of pepper spray during arrest of an individual with chronic pulmonary disease and COVID-19.” A finding of “homicide” by the medical examiner indicates that another person or persons contributed to the death. It does not establish criminal liability or determine whether the actions of the other persons were legally justified.

If convicted, Officer Piotrowski could face up to 10 years in prison.

A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved.

A conflicts check was conducted pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and no actual or potential conflict of interest was found involving any individual assigned to the investigation. Prior to presentation to the grand jury, the investigation was reviewed by OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher in accordance with the policies and procedures established for these presentations in the SOPs.

Trenton Deputy Fire chief Willever Retires After 29 Years With Trenton Fire Department

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TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) Todd Willever the deputy fire chief made his retirement public on social media that his final day in the fire department was Tuesday Willever left a heartwarming message.

Bittersweet day yesterday. It was my last working day in the firehouse. I’m officially retiring after 29 years with the City of Trenton Fire Department. I would like to thank all the Firefighters both active, retired, and my Family and friends, who came to the firehouse to give me that much appreciated last day celebration. I’ve had a great career. Some challenging moments along the way. These things never slowed me down, but I took it as a life lesson, teaching moment, or looked at how grateful i am to still be here. “Willever Strong” and press on.

At this time, i feel it’s time for the next chapter in my life. Thanks to all those who have helped me in my career, Made me the firefighter, officer, and leader I was in all my years on the TFD.”

UPDATE Trenton Police ask public for help finding missing 10-year-old

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Located safely

UPDATE: Aziannah Thompson has been located

TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) The Trenton Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating 10-year-old missing child Aziannah Thompson. Thompson was last seen in her Trenton residence at 6pm on January 2, 2023. She is 4’05” tall, weighs approximately 125 lbs., and has black hair and brown eyes. Aziannah was last seen wearing an oversized pink, yellow, and white hooded sweatshirt, and dark colored pants. If anyone has any information on Aziannah Thompson’s whereabouts, please contact the Trenton Police Department at 609-989-4000.

Algernon Ward seeks recount In North Ward Run off Election

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TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) Algernon Ward, who tied with Jennifer Williams in the December voting has now requested a recount after Williams won by one vote. Ward posted to his Facebook page Sunday night.

It ain’t over until it’s over: – Rocount. Because of a one vote difference in result of the North Ward Runoff Election, I have filed for a recount and recheck of those results. Given the many irregularities in this election, I must follow the process to the end to be sure that all votes have been fairly counted. When the entire procedure is finished, I will respect the will of the people.

Police investigating New Year’s Eve shooting on Anderson Street

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TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) A shooting left one person wounded on Anderson Street near the triangle park. The shooting happened just after 1:00 Pm, Trenton emergency medical services rushed the victim to Capital Health trauma center with a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Jennifer Williams & Jenna Figueroa Kettenberg to be Sworn in Sunday

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It’s official, today, Trenton City Clerk Brandon Garcia certified runoff election results for the North and South wards. Jennifer Williams and Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg will be sworn in as members of the Trenton City Council on Sunday along with East Ward Councilman Joseph Harrison and West Ward Councilwoman-elect Teska Frisby, who won their elections on November 8th after receiving more than 50% + 1 of the vote.

The council will be able to move forward with a quorum allowing them to reorganize with four members being sworn in. The runoff for three at-large council seats is scheduled for January 24th and it will take at least two weeks to certify the winners of that election.

Initially after the November 8th election, the city clerk certified Yazminelly Gonzalez, Crystal Feliciano and Jasi Edwards as the at-large winners. The three other candidates filed a law suit contesting the decision made by the city clerk regarding the formula used to calculate the winners and a Superior Court Judge found that the initial calculations used to determine the winners were incorrect and a runoff election needed to be scheduled.

Edwards, Gonzalez and Feliciano have teamed up this time around and will work together as they head toward the January 24th runoff date. They have received endorsements from Mayor Gusciora, Community Leader Elvin Montero and AFSCME Local 2286. The three are encouraging everyone to consider voting by mail for this election.

Trenton Police Department To Increases Enforcement Efforts on New Year’s Eve

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TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) On New Year’s Eve, the Trenton Police Department will operate several roving DUI patrols concentrating in and around the liquor establishments and heavily traveled roadways. The New Jersey State Police will be conducting their own DUI patrols within the Capital City.

According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, alcohol-related DUIs for drivers’ whose Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is 0.10% or greater can result in the loss of a driver’s license for up to 1 year, over $4,000 in fines, and a 30-day prison sentence.

Trenton Police Department Director Steve Wilson stated, “If you plan to drink alcohol on New Year’s Eve, you should not be driving. Even if you don’t plan on drinking tomorrow, please help keep your family and friends safe on New Year’s Eve.”

Tomorrow, TPD will also be strategically deploying officers to patrol high-crime areas in the City of Trenton. The Street Crimes Unit will also be augmenting these crime prevention efforts to keep residents safe.

Mayor W. Reed Gusciora stated, “We are all wishing for a happy and healthy new year this year and TPD is working around the clock to do their part to make this a reality. Now, let’s do our part.”

Trenton Fire Host Hero’s Holiday Giving Community Toy Grab

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TRENTON, N.J. (PBN) The Trenton fire department held its heroes holiday giving community toy grab on Christmas Eve. The event served well over 300 residents from the city of Trenton bringing joy to many children with gifts and seeing Santa. The event was held inside the Trenton Fire Headquarters.