U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger Recognizes Newark Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara’s Significant Contributions to Cooperative Law Enforcement

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NEWARK, N.J. – City of Newark Deputy Mayor and former Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara was recognized today by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey for his unwavering commitment to cooperative law enforcement in the state of New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced. 

On June 30, 2022, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka elevated O’Hara to deputy mayor of Newark. In February 2021, Baraka appointed O’Hara to be public safety director and he began his service in that role in March 2021, overseeing more than 1,960 employees, comprising 996 sworn police officers, 611 firefighters, and 346 civilian employees, and a budget that exceeded $200 million.

“Director O’Hara’s service has been defined by his commitment to reforming policing and his fidelity to partnering with other law enforcement agencies to protect the people of Newark,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said. “Through his leadership, we have maintained our indispensable cooperation and proactive participation in our efforts to confront and suppress violent crime in the great city of Newark. During his career, he brought reform and transparency to police practices by leading the Newark Police Department’s implementation of the Department of Justice’s Consent Decree. Under Director O’Hara ‘s leadership, the Police Department’s crime suppression efforts improved upon the record levels of violent crime reduction that were met in 2020.”

As the leader of the city of Newark’s Department of Public Safety, Director O’Hara has enhanced the collaborative working relationships among federal, state, and local partners, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Newark Police Department, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the New Jersey State Police, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness, and numerous other state and local agencies and police departments. Director O’Hara’s commitment to the Newark Violent Crime Initiative (VCI), the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s multi-agency cooperative effort aimed at combatting violent crime in and around vulnerable communities, has saved lives and lessened the scourge of gun violence. As other communities experience significant increases in gun violence, Director O’Hara to date this year has led the Newark Police Department to a 29 percent decrease in total shooting incidents, and a 26 percent decrease in shooting murder victims. Under Director O’Hara’s stewardship, the Newark Police Department has less total shooting incidents and shooting murder victims than it did at this point in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

“The city of Newark was well served by Director O’Hara’s relentless efforts to prioritize the safety of the people in this wonderful community,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said.

Director O’Hara received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in criminal justice from Rutgers University. In 2001, Director O’Hara joined the Newark Police Department as a police officer, rising through the ranks to become a captain in 2016.