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Collingswood Mayor Talks About Countywide Police Force Saving Money

A high-profile consultant brought in to oversee the implementation of a countywide force isn't so sure.

A former Philadelphia police commissioner, brought in by Camden County officials to help oversee the implementation of a countywide police force, is not certain the plan will save money, according to reports.

John Timoney told reporters who'd gathered Tuesday at the Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center, in Blackwood, that whether savings will be realized depends on what are determined to be "optimal staffing levels," for municipalities.

"You're looking for optimal staffing levels to police a county like Camden County," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Maybe it costs more. You won't know until you look."

Collingswood Mayor James Maley, who sits on the committee that's been piecing together a countywide force, said Tuesday's meeting was aimed at addressing Camden City.

"What generated this (meeting) Tuesday, and the introduction of Timoney, was (to address) how to set up a Camden City metro division of the countywide police force," said Maley Wednesday evening. "But as far as I know, no other towns have signed up yet."

Regarding the regionalized force, Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. has indicated that municipalities will pay their own share for their forces within the countywide scheme.

Opponents have expressed fears the county's other 36 towns would bare the burden of paying for Camden's policing under the proposal.

On Tuesday, Cappelli told the Inquirer that Timoney is here to do more than provide a high-profile, well-respected face to back the county plan.

"There's been a lot of speculation that Timoney's been brought in to bless a plan that's already been decided. Nothing could be further from the truth," he told the paper.

On the topic of savings, Cappelli told the Courier-Post he would consider the plan a success if it meant doubling officers on the Camden streets at roughly the same cost to run the current city police department.

Camden County announced earlier this month that Timoney was hired as a consultant to oversee planning for the countywide force. He is in town this week, on a per-diem basis, to help officials develop a plan to bring Camden on as the first member of the countywide force.

The county and Camden announced on Aug. 2 a tentative agreement to make the city the first member of the proposed department's metro division.

At this point, Camden remains the lone town to publicly express interest in joining the countywide police force, said Collingswood Mayor James Maley.

While Maley said the committee is not yet able to calculate the actual cost-savings that a regionalized force would bring, he said there will be savings nonetheless. 

"For most suburban towns, we're simply exploring sharing different services," Maley said. "The plan has always been that (a municipality) would pay for it—but the expectation is that you'd be paying less (than it costs to run a localized force)."

verna August 18, 2011 at 11:54 AM
While Mr. Capelli says that this plan intends to double the number of police on the street in Camden, nothing is said of the number of police on the street in the other Camden County towns, boroughs and municipalities. And nothing is being said of how the disbursment of tax money will happen... will the outlying towns be picking up the costs pf adding to the Camden City police force??
Silence Dogood August 18, 2011 at 01:11 PM
verna asks a great question. The answer in my opinion is that every town in the county will have less police on their streets while Camden City doubles their force. Plus and this is the best part for the rest of us, it will cost us all more in taxes to pay for this. Great plan Mr. Freeholder Director. Whay are the Freeholders and local administrations not holding town halls so the citizens can be educated and voice their concerns? It's an election year, I would imagine the freeholders up for re-election would be greatful for the opportunity to meet the people and tell us all how great this plan is.
libsrsic August 18, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Maley says, "the committee is not yet able to calculate the actual cost-savings that a regionalized force would bring, he said there will be savings nonetheless". That comment encapsulates the arrogance of politicians who have made cities across the country barren waste lands of crime. If anyone believes that money will be saved, I have the proverbial bridge to sell you. BTW, can you say Flash Mobs?
tim oneill August 18, 2011 at 08:50 PM
as the previous commentators have already surmised; it will be the same old story, a lot of pomp and circumstance, false promises, and political spin. yet when you take a closer look at how they are putting this county goon squad together you will realize they are continuing Trenton's lead, just as Verizon is now, "union busting". the employees of the new county wide "metro" (gestapo) will be our current cops, except it doesnt matter what rank you are now you will be busted down to the a patrolman and because they are disbanding the existing forces in towns that want to (and eventually will be forced to) participate the union locals are also being disbanded and i guarantee you they won't be governed under civil service regulations or the public employment relations commission. so what do you end up with? hmmmmm low paying jobs, no protections, and another patronage pit like the port authority..... Jim Maley's dream
alex August 19, 2011 at 03:12 AM
Norcross politics@it's finest
Shirley August 19, 2011 at 07:37 PM
My sister says that in Winslow Township where she lives there’s rarely any snow removal on county roads, no matter how much snow falls. She further says if this county-wide policing plan go into effect police will be as rare as snowplows in Winslow Township.

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