It’s a big day for law enforcement in a crime-stricken New Jersey city. Camden’s police union is voting today about whether to represent officers on the new county force that will patrol the city.
Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli said the vote will affect how many officers can join the county department.
“A ‘yes’ vote means that the FOP will continue to represent this police department, it means that a memorandum of understanding will be agreed to by the FOP with regard to terms of employment and works rules and it also means that we will be able to hire more than 49 percent of the existing officers,” said Cappelli.
Cappelli said so far about 60 percent of Camden officers have applied. He says the new force will be on the street in March.
“We look forward to getting this department off the ground as quickly as possible in order to take the streets back on behalf of the residents of the city,” he said.
Supporters of the county force say the county department will put more boots on the street for roughly the same money by getting out from underneath a contract full of expensive add-ons. The plan also calls for a smaller leadership to get more officers who can patrol.
John Williamson of Camden’s Police union has called the move from city to county force, reckless and dangerous and an attempt to break the union. Opponents of the policing plan question whether the new force will be prepared to patrol the dangerous city. They’re also skeptical that the county force really will be larger without expanding the budget.