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Meet Newark's Own Batman

Newark Police Officer Genaro Ortiz is the city's first and original Caped Crusader

Newark was all a twitter when Mayor Cory Booker tweeted a few weeks ago that that latest Batman movie may be coming to Brick City after he met with movie execs scouting locations.

A publicist cautioned last week it’s not known whether they will be filming in the city, but there is one Batman fanboy who is crossing his fingers.

Meet Newark Police Officer Genaro Ortiz, the city's first and original Dark Knight.

By day, the city resident drives a patrol car, teaches crime prevention classes, and helps run a police explorer program for teens and young adults. But by night (or whenever the occasion demands it), Ortiz suits himself up into a 40-pound Batman costume and becomes the Caped Crusader.

Ortiz, who has masqueraded as Batman for 20 years, is famous for his numerous appearances at schools all over city and charity events across the state.

Asked whether he would be miffed of Hollywood actor Christian Bale, who’s the latest to play Batman, hustling into his turf, Ortiz chuckles.

"Not jealous, not at all. We need all the crime fighters we can get," Ortiz said. "I am hoping it really happens. For that to actually happen in Newark would be fantastic."

Ortiz suggested making a cameo appearance as a Gotham City cop for the movie. If and when they film in Newark, Ortiz plans to park his car nearby, a souped up 2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2 Super Sport that’s made to look as close as possible as the latest Batmobile, complete with vertical doors that swing open like a certain super hero's cloak.

It's also pimped out with video monitors, speakers, strobe lights, and a PA system — much of the work contributed by businesses such as Wiredplus in Farmingdale, Street Legal Performance and Pinebelt in Lakewood, Ortiz said.

Ortiz started being Batman in October 1991 when he would dress up as the super hero on visits to Newark schools and teach lessons on Halloween safety. From there, it snowballed. Ortiz has been asked to visit various towns, police departments, and countless charity events, such as the March of Dimes.

Ortiz has always been into comic books and super heroes, especially Batman because, Ortiz said, "Batman is a more realistic person."

Though Bruce Wayne inherited his parent's money, he obtained his skills through education and training, he said.

The costume and car are pretty cool, too.

Kids' faces light up when they see the Batmobile and when they get to meet Oritz as Batman, he said.

"Just seeing them smile is great," he said.

Sharon Adarlo June 21, 2011 at 03:47 PM
I was sent this email from a reader that I think should be posted here: "Officer Oritz has been doing this for a long and deserves the credit he is now getting, I did many events with him and he was always will to to be there and encourage kids with his super hero alter ego. Tell him to keep up the good work. I hope he get his chance to be in the movie. I wish him the best. John Giordano former Founder and President of the Ironbound Block Watch Association."

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