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Chiefs Turn Against Plan for Countywide Police Force

The Camden County Police Chiefs' Association will no longer take part in exploring a countywide police force.

Camden County's plan to create a countywide police force was  dealt a serious blow this week when the group representing local police chiefs washed its hands of the proposal. 

The Camden County Police Chiefs' Association announced it would no longer take part in an a committee created to explore a countywide force. 

“This action shows that they are more interested in protecting their own interests than the taxpayers’ interests,” said county Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr.  “Taxpayers are asking for better public safety that is more cost-effective.

“The police chiefs don’t want to be part of the process of protecting the greater public safety interests of their neighbors and, in that way, they are pitting their interests against the taxpayers in their communities,” Cappelli said in a statement. “That is unfortunate, but it’s their right and their choice to walk away.”

Berlin Borough Police Chief Robert L. Carrara, president of the Camden County Police Chiefs' Association, was out of his office Thursday and could not be reached for comment. 

But in a letter to the editor sent to Patch this week, Carrara said county officials are trying to rush the plan through without any real input from local police chiefs.(To view a copy of the letter, click on the PDF above.)

Carrara contends the exploratory committee has met five times for a total of only five hours over the past several months, "not nearly enough time to compile the necessary statistics and information, not to mention the groundwork required to form a police department of this size. Keep in mind that a countywide police department in Camden County would be serving a population equal to the city of Tucson in an area the size of Chicago."

Last week the county released a  that attempted to explain how a countywide force might work. 

"This document outlines purported potential savings as well as hiring formulas that the county apparently intends to use," Carrara wrote. "Not once were these discussed in any of the five hours that the committee met. Where did these figures come from? We are left with the conclusion that there must by two 'committees.' One committee comprised of elected mayors, politically appointed municipal administrators, politically appointed chief financial officers, the elected sheriff, appointed county prosecutor and one police chief—which did not discuss any of the items mentioned the white paper. Apparently, there is another committee meeting behind closed doors."

In a release, county officials said, "the status quo in current public safety costs is unsustainable for municipalities, given the 2 percent tax cap" imposed on municipalities by Gov. Christopher J. Christie. 

Christie, a Republican, has strongly encouraged New Jersey towns to share more services to save taxpayers money. 

“Joining a countywide police department would be an option available to municipalities and would be totally voluntary,” said Cappelli, director of the all-Democrat freeholder board. “It would be up to the municipalities to decide what is in their best interests and those of their taxpayers.”

libsrsic June 17, 2011 at 06:05 PM
I agree Robert. The government should be run by the people. The taxpayer, imho, has become the new oppressed class in the Country; not what our Founding Father's intended.
Darren Gladden June 17, 2011 at 07:17 PM
I understand that Robert but just look how our cities are ran ,I move to the burbs for the local touch now the waste in NEW JERSEY is the school system and the crooked politicians we KEEP voting in you want change start voting out the crooked politicians and put term limits on ALL held offices 8 years and then get out ..................This comment was not paid for by no one cause I'm broke but please do vote this November 8 for Darren Gladden for council...........Just care I do
rob June 17, 2011 at 07:45 PM
well just think if we had county style govevement maybe some of good from small towns will improve our bigger citys an they would have to answer to the entire county not just the same old thing an that was my next question mr gladden our u related to dan gladden i belive he was a politician too we need to think outside the box in which i support gov christie he seems to offer some solutions right or wrong he has guts each town would have at least one council member under my plan ane we would vote for i am a senior retired i cant even afford to go out to the supermarket without spending a 100 an camden county is the most expensive county to live in with its 3 water bills its a rip off here
Darren Gladden June 17, 2011 at 08:23 PM
I'm not related to Dan Gladden or we might be related but I never meet the guy.I watch a Dan Gladden play baseball and we are not related also ,I understand your pain that why I'm running for office .I'm going to need everyone help on this one cause these crooked politicians buy a lot of votes if you know what I mean .I am starting up a website soon and Robert I'm plaining a Comdey night to tell people more about myself and also make some people laugh ,Laughing always helps the pain that what I think . Have a Great weekend Robert and happy father day
Jimm June 18, 2011 at 12:07 AM
I hope everyone doesn't buy into the "savings" theory. Several existing services will go by the wayside, Get in a minor accident? No police response...take it to the police station for a report. Motor vehicle lockout? call a locksmith... unless a life threatening emergency exists. Less patrol coverage because as noted above - the police are in the high crime areas, Do you think the criminals aren't drooling over this plan? more time to survey their victims, longer time for police to respond, less cops over a wider area? Where's my property values headed if this happens? A BAD, BAD, BAD idea. A wise politician told me once "Good Government should concern itself with three things, Public Safety, Public Service, and Public Works - not always in that order..." Looking at Camden County's Public Safety track record - In 2005 Public Safety had a $10.2M budget, in 2010 it was $7.9M. Sounds good right? until you realize they took approximately 5% out of the line items in a $300M budget EACH year ...and didn't lower taxes... my math says 5% of $300M is around $15M PER YEAR. where did that money go? Thats $75 million dollars over 5 yrs! Now this year Camden County's so broke they laid off 240 employees? And have to raise taxes? AND using Public Safety they want us to entrust them with more of our money? NO! NO! you know what -NO! Please get ALL the facts before jumping on this Titanic. I support consolidation if done for the right reasons. NOT bailing out Camden!

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