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Cappelli: Time to Clear Up Myths About Countywide Police Force

The Camden County freeholder director writes to clarify "rumors and innuendo" surrounding a countywide force.

To the Editor: 

Over the past 14 months there have been a lot of rumors and innuendo surrounding the creation and operation of the Camden County Police Department. I have heard all of the conspiracy theories and today I wanted to take the opportunity to provide you with the facts.

Right now, the County has a goal of having the Metro Division of the County Police Department operational by 2013.  

The move would put more than 400 police officers on the streets of Camden instead of the 268 officers in the city’s existing force. Furthermore, the commissioning of a Metro Division will be done in a way that’s cost-effective and sustainable yet provides a comparable salary for officers to their colleagues in other towns throughout the state. I cannot say this enough: Camden City’s crime turns into Camden County’s crime. Let’s get rid of the myths and talk about the facts.

Myth 1: Municipalities in Camden County will be paying for Camden City’s Metro Division of the Camden County Police Force.

Fact: Camden City will pay for its own Metro Division. No other municipalities will support it or contribute to it. If Camden City is having its police budget subsidized by the state then that subsidy would continue to be paid to the county until the city is fiscally self-sufficient. The process and the payment would be the same for any municipality that decided to join the county police department. Each one must pay its own way.

Myth 2: All the other municipalities in Camden County will be forced to join the Camden County Police Department.

Fact: All shared services offered by the County to the 37 towns are voluntary. We do not have the authority to mandate municipalities to join a regional police department. Mayors and municipalities are free to do what is best for them and their constituents.

Myth 3: If other municipalities do choose to join the County Police Department, their officers will be forced to patrol the City of Camden.

Fact: Each municipality that chooses to join the Camden County Police Department would have its own force, patrolling its own region of the county.

I hope this letter has helped make clear the basic facts about the Camden County Police Department. We will continue to update you regularly on this issue  through our website, email alerts, videos and print pieces like this one. You can read the county police force plan and other information on the initiative on the county’s website, www.camdencounty.com. You can also register for email updates on its progress.

Louis Cappelli Jr.

Director of the Camden County Board of Freeholders

Paul J. DiBartolo April 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM
I would appreciate a more direct link to information on this issue as just going to the "www.camdencounty.com" site does not readily provide that information. I'm specifically interested in how a county-wide force would be better than what we have if all officers are to remain in their own jurisdictions anyway. Additionally, Mr. Cappelli states, "Camden City’s crime turns into Camden County’s crime," as if this were a main impetus for proceeding with this plan. The presence of more police on the street does not necessarily end crime, in fact, what's the possibility that it will drive those involved in crime to smaller communities with less police presence than this plan would create in Camden City? That makes Cappelli's statement somewhat self fulfilling thus driving crime to more sparsely policed locations. Finally, Camden needs a better plan to reduce its crime than the mere increase of police on the streets, it needs an increase in local businesses which will bring the possibility of more jobs, more people, and thus a reduction in crime.
Jack S April 20, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Unfortunately the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders has been dominated by a single party for decades, with the obvious consequences that it lacks any checks and balances. Mr. Capelli assumes that the State will continue to subsidize Camden City fire/police. But what if the State withdrawals that support? The obvious consequence will be that taxpayers throughout the County will then have to pick up the tab for a consolidated force that benefits primarily Camden City. While the Freeholders may relish the additional power that a consolidated force would place in their hands, there is little or no direct benefit to the taxpayers, who saw an 8% increase in their County tax in 2011. The Freeholders' pitch to "trust them" on this ring holllow after years of misspending on economic development and other waste in Camden County.
One road town April 20, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Mr. Cappelli ought not to type so late at night, this piece is ridiculous. So what is the 'goal' again? To create a Camden County PD force, or a Metro Division that serves Camden City? ... or to just spend more tax dollars. How is Camden City going to float the bill for an additional 132 officers if they cannot afford to pay more than the current 268? lol He needs to be briefed on basic math skills. Where does the state say it's going to float MORE subsidizing to Camden and at what point in time does he think Camden City will magically be " fiscally self-sufficient" Who does this guy think he is telling us this garbage? lol .. Camden City being "fiscally self-sufficient" is an oxymoron. The city is propped up financially by the state and local towns in the county. We all know this. Right now Camden County cannot afford to put on ONE shift for ONE officer past midnight in the parks system and Mr. Cappelli believes that an entire police force should magically sprout out of the clear blue? It's politicians like him that burden our life with his reckless spending. NEWSFLASH: money the state subsidizes for pet projects (such as the new police force 'idea') to local towns is done through TAXES. People talk about all this subsidizing as if it were Monopoly money.
cgw3431 April 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Those who fail to participate in politics are destined to be ruled by their inferiors.
Interested taxpayer March 02, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Look at the Camden county school tax and see that more than half of the county tax paid by all municipalities pays to subsidiary ONE school district Camden City School District. Now an over 70% subsidy from all municipalities is not enough so the State cuts Schiller funding and establishes school choice which further subsdizes Camden City. Enough is enough...

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