Camden County Freeholder Director: Metro PD Salaries and Benefits Fair, Competitive
By Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr.
Over the months, I’ve listened to resident talk about a variety of issues connected to the Camden County Police Department’s Metro Division. The number one fallacy I hear from residents inside and outside law enforcement is that Camden County police officers are going to be paid $10.75 an hour, the freeholder board will eliminate benefits and officers will forgo a pension. This canard has made the rounds in police departments and the community and continues to get repeated time and again.
I want to present to you definitive numbers listed on our website next to our application about the real pay scale and benefits for officers of the Camden County Police Department. The base salaries for officers working in the Metro Division in the department’s metro division will start at $47,000. There are scheduled increases in pay to a maximum of $87,000 for patrolmen. Supervisors in the department will start at $91,835 for a first year sergeant position and increase to $130,032 for an experienced captain. Every officer will be part of the state health benefit plan and be enrolled in the state Police and Fire Pension System just like their colleagues throughout the state.
This pay scale is higher than average for departments in Camden County, at $79,686; Burlington County at $80,011; Gloucester County at $78,872; and Atlantic at $83,400. Furthermore, in the current Camden City Police Department the median pay rate is $79,656 and the state’s largest city, Newark, the median salary is slightly higher at $90,000. These statistics were borne from a special report in the Star Ledger and gleaned from 2009 data from the New Jersey Division of Pension and Benefits.
If you look directly across the river from the county seat, inside the fifth largest city in the country, the Philadelphia Police Department’s pay scale is drastically reduced from Camden County Police Department’s Metro Division. A patrolman in the department starts at $45,420. There are scheduled increases over many years that bring the salary up to a maximum of $58,989. In addition, Philadelphia has more than 6,500 police officers, and like the new metro division, utilizes police aides–civilian positions–to keep more police on the streets and bring down the overall cost of their operation.
In fact, federal data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics proves that the Camden County Police Department’s salary structure is greater than the median salary for police officers in California, Illinois, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. To put this in perspective, the median police officer salary in state Pennsylvania is $54,140.
In short, our base salary is one of the most competitive in the state and higher than the current Camden City Police Department salary structure. Furthermore, when we look at several urban areas and pay scales regionally and Countywide the Camden County Police Department has a higher base salary range than its competitors. Also, the costs associated with these salaries are borne by the municipalities participating in the regional police department, so Camden City will pay Camden County for the operation of the metro division.
This information is critical for the community to know as we move forward because the freeholder board believes very strongly in paying competitive salaries for the men and women in uniform working to stabilize Camden City and make Camden County a safer place to live. This mission-driven job deserves fair compensation because this bold initiative will need dedicated professionals to stem the violence and take back the neighborhoods. This governing body will no not stand for the violence being visited on our residents and flagrant crime that continues to haunt the streets of our county seat.