As scheduled, Camden County will launch its Metro Police Division in 2013, promised Freeholder Director Louis J. Cappelli in his annual State of the County address Friday.
But the county will also take on a number of health, safety and environmental initiatives throughout the region.
Highway improvements scheduled to take place in 2013 should repair and repave some 400 miles county roads and five bridges, creating hundreds of jobs and improving transportation and safety, Cappelli said.
The County Health Connection mobile health station will be making more appearances this year, Cappelli said, tackling obesity and mental health issues. The county will also update its 911 emergency dispatch system to a state-of-the-art design that can receive text messages, the first of its kind in the state.
He promised to put a senior services pamphlet in the hands of every elderly resident, and also said that Camden County would join Burlington and Gloucester Counties in a tri-county health assessment survey.
In perhaps the most interesting initiative announced today, Cappelli said that within five years, the Camden County Municipal Authority will become completely carbon-neutral through a combination of efficiency and green-energy improvements. An energy efficiency program through the Camden County Technical School is expected to drive $13 million in savings in the next 15 years.
Cappelli closed by vowing that the launch of the Camden County Metro Police Division—which started hiring last month—would take back the streets of the city from "thugs and gang members" who sell illegal drugs there.
"To all the thugs, drug dealers, the gang members, we have a simple message for you: Your days in Camden County are numbered.
"They will come to an end," he said, to rising applause.