Monday, March 21, 2011

New Jersey Law Enforcement Feeling the Pinch

Late last year, Camden, New Jersey, rated number two in the nation among cities with the highest crime rate, laid off 44 percent of its police force. Within a day of the lay-offs, the city saw six carjackings, and six shootings, the Associated Press reported. The crime rate shot up by 20 percent following the layoffs, according to the

Governor Chris Christie has vowed to balance New Jersey's budget without raising taxes--whatever the cost to local residents. Camden is not the only municipality feeling the pinch. Hiring freezes, attrition, and layoffs have caused municipal police departments across New Jersey to shrink about 11 percent between January 1, 2009 and September 10, 2010, according to the Star-Ledger. Those layoffs mean 2,228 fewer officers across the state. To read more on the plight of New Jersey law enforcement,

Camden has announced the rehiring of 50 police officers. The measure is temporary and came as the result of a payment in lieu of taxes from the South Jersey Port Corporation, reported the

Meanwhile, in Paterson, a city where the crime index is 59% greater than the New Jersey average and 8% greater than the national average, face the impending layoff of 125 Police officers, according to The future is not bright in Patterson. Since 1994, the department has used approximately $12.6 million from the federally funded grant to employ 137 officers, MSNBC reported.

During a recent Congressional Budget Committee hearing, House GOP members threatened to cut the COPS grant since FBI statistics showed the violent crime rate in the U.S. dipped by 40 percent since the grants inception. I recently wrote about Senator John Kerry blasting the Houses for its reckless proposal,

If federal funding for local police officers is slashed with the austerity measures in place in states nationwide--Camden and Patterson are a harbinger of things to come in cities across the country.

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