Gov. Corzine yesterday appointed East Orange police director Jose Cordero, 51, to become New Jersey's first director in charge of fighting gangs, guns and violent crime.

Cordero has been heralded for reducing crime in the North Jersey city by using computers to analyze trends. Crime in East Orange fell by 56 percent over three years, according to a statement by Attorney General Anne Milgram. From January through November of this year, crime dropped an additional 29 percent, she said.

Milgram suggested yesterday that the innovations Cordero put into place could be used throughout the state.

Cordero, who began his career with the New York City police, will begin his new assignment next month.

- Sam Wood