Camden re-hiring some police officers and firefighters

There’s good news for Camden, New Jersey.  Some police and firefighters are getting re-hired after massive layoffs. 

Camden Mayor Dana Redd said the $2.5 million paid to the city by the South Jersey Port Corporation will be used to rehire 50 police officers and 15 firefighters.  The city laid off almost 170 cops and about 60 firefighters two months ago because of budget problems.”We have seen an uptick in crime,” Camden Police Chief John Scott Thomson said.  “Year to date, our crime is up 20% right now, but crime does ebb and flow.”  He said the re-hired officers will be put to work, “upon the re-hire of these individuals, they will be immediately deployed into our hotspots, into our neighborhoods, and into our business districts.”The money from the port is a “payment in lieu of taxes”  Those are funds tax exempt entities give to the city to compensate it for services they use.  But the funds will pay to keep the emergency responders on the job only from April 1st through June 30th.Mayor Redd said she wants to explore regionalized police services in Camden County as a long-term solution.

Reverend Willie Anderson is with the group Camden Churches Organized for People.  He said residents are worried that crime will spike once the weather gets warmer.

“This is temporary but it’s very encouraging that something was done to get some more officers out there and even some fire people–we need those people as well,” said Anderson.  “So this is very encouraging and we like this, but obviously much more needs to be done.”Camden residents voiced safety concerns following the January layoffs.

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