Media Regarding Robert Cowan
In a statement made to the Jersey Journal on October 1, 2013 Mayor Steve Fulop said he appointed Deputy Chief Cowan to be Chief of the Jersey City Police department because he was “on the front lines with the troops.” Mayor Fulop went on to say “Chief Cowan’s leadership has been especially critical during the first three months of our administration, where he has been both an integral part in developing our plan for targeted police sweeps and actively involved in the field operations leading to the arrest of more than 200 individuals, His vision is in line with mine, which is to move Jersey City forward and create one city – a safer city – for all of our residents.”
During Mayor Steve Fulop’s February 27, 2014, State of the City Address he said this about former Chief Cowan’s stewardship of the Jersey City Police Department:
“This past summer as we took office, seven murders in five weeks resulted in heightened fears and concerns. As an administration and as a city, we were determined to stop the violence. We immediately reassigned officers so more police were on patrol and implemented a series of sweeps, resulting in more than 200 arrests. To address the shootings, we created a Ceasefire Unit to investigate and give priority to non-fatal shootings. This unit has a successful solve rate of 53 percent, more than double the New Jersey average.
In large measure we have succeeded in turning the page on crime, but there is still more to do. Let me be clear, Jersey City is the safest big city in New Jersey.
Through the leadership of our Public Safety Director Jim Shea, Police Chief Robert Cowan, the commitment of community and religious leaders, and the courage of our uniformed men and women, we will continue to build upon the progress we have made”.
June 4, 2014, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop Statement to the Jersey Journal praising former Chief Cowan’s effectiveness in implementing and leading large scale crime initiatives in high crime areas of the city.
“The success of these operations demonstrates the effectiveness of both (Public Safety) Director James Shea and (Police) Chief (Robert) Cowan, as well as the hard work of the men and women of the Police Department,” Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said of the 103 arrests. “We will aggressively continue these operations throughout the summer to enhance public safety and ensure that our neighborhoods remain safe for all of our residents.”
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On June 25, 2014, the Jersey Journal published this third article in a series of eleven in which residents, business owners and elected officials were interviewed regarding the revitalization of Jersey City’s Martin Luther King Drive, what follows is what was said about former Chief Cowan’s leadership of the Jersey City Police Department by an elected official in addition to an area business owner and community leader.
The (policing) strategy is beginning to take hold. Residents and local officials report seeing more cops. State Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham noted a “bigger police presence” and seeing patrol officers on motorcycles.
Pat Sebron, the owner of Hosiery and Things on the Drive near Atlantic Street and a local resident, says the larger police presence is a key to turning around the fortunes of the Drive.
“Public safety is extremely important. That’s the first thing people think about when they are going to go out and spend their dollars,” said Sebron, a noted fan of Police Chief Robert Cowan. “I think his method of policing is very positive for us. We cannot arrest our way out of this, but police presence is a paramount focus.”
As I sit here on Monday at home in Society Hill, still cold and without power, I was warmed by the selfless acts of giving that I had witnessed being performed by neighbors from within our community. On Sunday, Society Hill residents Jersey City Police Capt. Bob “Bubba” Cowan and his wife Liz Cowan, retired JCPD Officer Bobby Englese, his fiance Evie Reyes, and Pat Albers had all teamed up and put together a wonderful cookout for the residents of Society Hill where over 300 hamburgers and 400 hot dogs were served to neighbors who had suffered seven devastating days with no electricity and plummeting temperatures.
What I witnessed was nothing short of inspiring, when Capt. Cowan and Bobby Englese arrived with a truck load of provisions, no one in the community knew what was going on. As residents learned of the plan they all joined together and worked as a team to prepare for the cookout. Neighbors brought out additional food, tables, and even a generator so two additional electric grills could be used in addition to the huge propane grill brought in by the Cowan family. Neighbors banded together despite the dismal conditions we all have lived in over the past week. My best estimate is that close to 350 people were fed a hot meal. It was especially touching to see all the children who were happy to have a hot dog, hamburger and doughnuts.
In the February 2017 issue of Boston Magazine, David S Bernstein authored an investigative piece on the Boston Police Department, which revealed it only solves 4% of Boston’s Non-Fatal Shootings. Mr. Bernstein has become a frequent analyst on local and national television and radio broadcasts, and has been named journalist of the year by the New England Press Association. Additionally, he has been cited for excellence in criminal justice reporting by John Jay College.
During Mr. Bernstein’s investigation he noted the success of the Jersey City Police Shooting response team, which had been created by Former Chief Robert Cowan; Mr. Bernstein contacted Mr. Cowan to conduct an extensive interview regarding the success of Jersey City’s Cease Fire Unit.
Excerpt From Boston Magazine Article:
After an embarrassing December 2012 Star-Ledger exposé on clearance rates for non-fatal shootings, several state, county, and city police departments created centralized investigative units devoted to solving those cases. Changing to a centralized unit was key to raising Jersey City’s clearance rate for non-fatal shootings, from less than 30 percent to more than 40 percent, says Robert Cowan, who created the unit as the department’s deputy chief of police and now runs an investigations firm. Among other advantages, he argues, is that the perceived importance of a specialized unit ensures quick cooperation from patrol officers and crime scene investigators immediately after a shooting—all of which helps catch suspects.
Jersey City, however, didn’t stop with a new detective unit. The police department also broke the unit up into shifts—including one from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. “Me being a night-patrol guy for years,” Cowan says, “that’s when I wanted them working so they could go right out.” He believes that, while expensive because of union rules, the change has been an essential part of the city’s success.