Infamous for being one of the U.S.’ most dangerous cities, with 39 homicides this year alone, things are about to get a little scarier in Camden, New Jersey.
“The cities experiencing a high homicide rate, and it’s not acceptable,” said Camden Mayor Dana Redd. “We want to make sure our citizens are safe.”
The city has worked for two years to shutter its police department and create the Camden Metro Police Division, which would be run by the county.
Redd on Wednesday said a plan detailing a massive police layoff would be put forward by the end of August, according to CBS Philly. This means all 270 current officers will be out of work by the end of the year. However, Redd points out that out-of-work cops will be eligible for the almost 400 estimated new positions.
“We’re having a problem internally with the existing force,” said Redd. “We rehired everyone, all the 168 officers that were laid off. We’re having a high absentee rate so we cannot continue with this trend and expect to keep our city safe.”
However, president of the police union John Williamson says the crime problem was caused by police layoffs dating back to last year and that the new plan will make things much, much worse.
“Not only are you playing with people’s futures, you’re playing with the public’s lives,” said Williamson, adding that the plan is “untested and risky.”
“I say that bringing 300 new people who don’t know the city, don’t know the people, is a recipe for disaster,” he said.
Watch the CBS Philly update:
The police union is considering legal action.
“There are several legal actions going on against the city,” Williamson said. “One involving fighting this county metro plan, another that is dealing with the petition initiative that is filed in the appeal court.”
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