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Camden City Leaders Rally for Countywide Policing Plan

Mayor Dana Redd formally introduced the big names signed on to the project, including a few familiar faces.

“We are declaring peace in the city,” Camden City Mayor Dana Redd told a roomful of reporters, supporters and at least one heckler Wednesday, at a press conference announcing the next phase of the plan to replace the city’s police department with a countywide police force.

Redd described Camden as an up-and-coming, “regional leader of the ‘eds and meds,’” but warned that without improved public safety in the city, “these efforts will be in vain.”

“This is not a political decision,” Redd said.

“Yeah, it is!” a voice from the back of the room instantly barked back.

Leveling her gaze without raising her voice, Redd continued from her prepared remarks, which accused unnamed opponents of the plan of intentionally spreading misinformation about it.

“At the end of the day you will be held accountable,” she said.

“So will you!” came the final rejoinder.

In the hour-long meeting, Redd introduced the architects of the new policing strategies for the countywide metro division.

Among them were and Lanuel Ferguson, who served as Camden City police director briefly in 2011, and former state police captain Edward Fanelle, who will be the new county public safety director.

When asked why he would want to come back to Camden after his rough and short-lived 2011 stint, Ferguson offered a KYW reporter a spiritual reply:

“Delayed doesn’t mean denied.”

North Camden Little League organizer Bryan Morton .

“I don’t want to admit fear,” he said. “I don’t want to be fearful in this.”

Morton said he is waiting for the day his mother, who is not shy about clearing her block of loiterers and drug-pushers, pays the ultimate price for it.

“[Policing Camden] is not a job for my mother,” he said.

Camden County Freeholder and Collingswood resident Louis Cappelli, Jr. said that under the countywide system, Camden would be “achieving a different public safety paradigm.”

“We will keep this ball rolling until this city is safe,” he said. “We will be at this until it’s done.”

After the meeting, Cappelli touted the efficiencies of the new county metro division, and said it would lead to the hiring of about 140 additional officers to serve Camden.

The countywide policing plan—which Collingswood Mayor James Maley said —was well-received by area mayors at a closed-door meeting last week, Cappelli said.

The only police chief who attended that meeting was Collingswood Police Chief Richard Sarlo, Cappelli said, but the others “are welcome back at the table.”

“All they have to do is call,” Cappelli said.

Joseph Forrest August 30, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Bryan Morton and Wren Ingram...the only "community" residents who support this plan. It's sad that the city can't find real residents - who haven't sold out - to support this initiative. Wren is looking for the opportunity to get her public safety job back, and Bryan is hoping for more money and support for his various North Camden schemes. It's also funny to see them rehire Ferguson. His last stint in Camden lasted less than a month. This whole operation is a joke! Mayor Maley's Freudian slip does not come as a surprise. What he really meant to say was "15 to 20 months" not years. How can they sell this idea by saying that Camden will pay for the force. Camden couldn't pay for it's previous force of 400 officers, and it can barely afford its reduced force of 200! And as far as state aid goes, the state government is broke! And per the agreement that Camden signed with DCA several years ago, Camden is legally obliged to be financially independent from the state within two years! This is a cluster-F&*# waiting to happen. The county tax payers are going to get saddled with this responsibility, and/or the surrounding towns will be forced to join the metro division in order to make it more feasible and cost effective. TYPICAL POLITICS: First - create a problem where one does not exist. Two - Let the problem fester over 12 months. Finally - the problem becomes so bad, we will be "forced" to do the things that the politicians wanted all along. Wake up, people!
Ed B August 30, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Well said Joe...Problem is, we are all awake!!! We are being dooped. The very people we elect to represent us are voted in by us and when sh@# like this comes up we are closed out of the meetings and forced to accept whatever our representatives feel we want whether they flip flop or not. Its unbelievable...what is happening before our eyes...then they report only ONE police chief attended the meeting...just one big sham after another
Joanna Mills August 30, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Here's a bit of a refresher: Camden city police (and school system) have been operated by the State of New Jersey and it ends THIS year. Do you now understand WHY there were layoffs of police recently and WHY there is such a big push (closed door meetings and all) for a Metro force - which will be, essentially, dedicated to Camden? You have to wonder what the REAL reason is for Sarlo, Maley and Cappelli (who has no morals) and others to be behind this. What's in it for them? Mayor Redd claims it's "not political". Really? What a twit! Anything and everything a politician does IS political. Camden - a "regional leader in 'eds and meds'". Are you kidding me? Isn't THAT a political remark? Here's an absurd idea but one that might work better than this gruel that we will be forced to eat. Declare Camden a disaster area (because it is) and enact martial law. What else can it be with 41 homicides THIS year and when a dropout, gangbanger wants to ride his dirt bike through a baseball practice? Put a few soldiers on each street corner with an M16 - I bet it does wonders to reduce the crime rate. While your at it put a few in city hall where three Camden mayors and a state senator have been put in jail for corruption.
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) August 30, 2012 at 04:48 PM
To be fair, Ed, the police chiefs association was holding out of the meeting because they're opposed to the plan. I think eight local chiefs were invited to the meeting; the others held out in support of the association. Then the association leaders showed up at the meeting at the boathouse and were denied admission because they had pulled out of the process at some point last year. It gets a little complicated because so much of this back-and-forth is about leverage.
Joanna Mills August 30, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Marilyn - Interesting comparison.
Anne Carroll August 31, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Like!
Anne Carroll August 31, 2012 at 01:07 AM
I do.
Loretka September 02, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Tamminy Hall in NY? I don't remember. Please detail.
Loretka September 02, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I seem to remember hearing that the Camden County Park Police have been cut --- making it difficult to police the parks with so few park police. Am I right or wrong? Does anybody know? If true, and Camden County had to cut park police due to budgets, then where will the money come from to pay a county police force to police the City of Camden? From the city and it's residents? Really ?????
Anne Carroll September 03, 2012 at 12:50 AM
@Loretka - While the main abuse of power by Tammany Hall in New York City was a little before my arrival on stage, later on, and during my childhood years, it was a constant subject of controversy among my Irish Catholic (first generation) family immigrants. Some benefited from Tammany connections. Most did not. Tammany Hall polarized my family. Many of you know it was a corrupt regime which wielded enormous power in NYC until finally laid to rest in the the 1960's. Ah, do we perhaps sense some tiny parallels here between Tammany and our current crop of leaders in Camden County? Please let us not repeat history...I love Camden County, NJ and cringe to witness corruption among our political power-brokers. Doesn't matter if they're elected or not. The corruption is blatant.
Wendy Wilkins Valdez February 06, 2013 at 01:18 PM
What I don't understand is why they are so insistent on duplication of services, which in effect increases costs to taxpayers. There already exists a county-wide police force whose infrastructure is already in place. All it needed was expansion. That force is the Camden County Sheriff's Department. Other states utilize their Sheriff's departments for policing duties, generally in unincorporated areas, which New Jersey no longer has. I think they're capable of doing more than prisoner transport, which is the only thing I've ever seen them used for. There's so much waste in government. Adding a new police force when one already exists is just another example.

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