Camden, New Jersey is about to layoff 180 members of the city’s 373-member police department, mostly patrol officers, may lose their jobs. Dozens of ranking officers already have been demoted, and a handful, according to sources, have submitted resignations, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
In Newark, lawmakers furloughed 167 police officers last week, http://mattmangino.blogspot.com/2010/11/newark-violence-on-rise-police-on.html.
The layoffs will lead to lower response times citywide and are "definitely going to help criminals," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Rutgers University students who attend school nearby said that they generally feel safe on the small campus because of the university law enforcement presence.
Union officials said that they will meet with city administrators tomorrow to discuss the city's concession requests, which include a 20 percent wage reduction. With additional concessions, however, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1 President John Williamson believes that the wage reduction approaches 30 to 35 percent.
"We cannot responsibly and in good conscience thrust our membership into foreclosure," he told the Daily News. "We have no problem discussing or possibly agreeing to some concessions, if all the jobs are going to be saved."
A source familiar with the department told the Daily News, approximately 58 jobs could be saved if the union accepts all the concessions. The concessions also call for the elimination of shift differential, overtime, and longevity pay for experienced officers and uniform allowances. The city also wants to increase insurance contributions and increase co-pays.
New Jersey State Police would not discuss the current level of staffing in the city, and Gov. Chris Christie said that he would not send more aid or additional troopers to patrol the city, which had been done in the past during periods of high crime, according to the Daily News.
Thomson said that the State Police have a "significant amount of resources" in Camden and that his dialogue with the agency increased as talk of layoffs grew.
According to the Daily News, Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said that Camden could probably use 400 officers, and he's worried that reduced manpower could delay critical investigations.
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