NEWARK ó Sandy Perez was a second-year patrol officer for the Newark Police Department when she was laid off earlier this month. A single mother of three, Perez had been jobless before entering the police academy 2008 and now finds herself back on the unemployment line.

"Itís hard, not having a job with three kids, you know?" said Perez, 34.

But tonight, Perez got a chance to relax a bit as her former co-workers threw a Christmas party for the 167 Newark officers who have been laid off.

A buffet, live entertainment, raffles, prizes and drink specials at the XL Lounge in Newark benefitted the officers who were let go by the city to cover a budget gap. All proceeds from the party went to a fund, "Letís All Make it Happen," set up for the unemployed officers.

"Itís really a Christmas party for these guys," said David Mos, the patrolman who organized the party.

Nonprofit hosts fundraiser for laid off Newark cops |