Camden looks into creating regional police force

    Regional police forces may replace some local departments in New Jersey. Camden County is examining the idea.

    Representatives of 35 of the 37 towns in the county met with state officials at Camden County College Wednesday to discuss the concept.

    Gov. Chris Christie said if a countywide force begins there, other counties will take similar action to stay within the 2-percent property tax cap.

    “We have to figure out other ways to be able to save money and to bring wages and benefits and the costs of providing public safety into line while not sacrificing making sure that the public remains safe,” the governor said.

    Attorney General Paula Dow said criminals go from one town into another, and police should be able to take the same approach in fighting crime.

    Senate President Steve Sweeney said taxpayers are at a breaking point and need relief.

    “Something has to change and what has to change is the way we deliver local government. We have to make it more cost effective. We have to make it more cost efficient,” he said. “We have to make sure that it’s reliable, and it can be done.”

    Camden County Freeholder Louis Cappelli Jr. said so far no town has committed to joining a regional force. He said it could take up to six months to create.

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