CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) — Camden Mayor Dana Redd made it clear at a Wednesday afternoon City Hall press conference that plans to layoff nearly half the police force, along with firefighters and other city workers, are moving forward.

Redd, surrounded by the city’s police chief and council president, says the city has no choice given a $26.5 million budget shortfall and no indication so far by city unions that they are willing to make concessions that the city claims could provide money to save some jobs.

In the case of the police department, officials say approximately 58 of the 180 potential layoffs could be averted with concessions.

Fraternal Order of Police President John Williamson said the city was trying to make the police union, and others, in his words “scapegoats” for the crisis.

Camden was recently named the second most violent city in America.

Many residents, hearing about the proposed cuts, expressed concern.

City Council is expected to approve the layoffs in its session Thursday. Pink slips are expected to go out Friday, with layoffs taking place January 18.

City officials promised, despite the cuts of police, firefighters and other workers, they would do their best to provide protection for the city.

Reported By: Walt Hunter, CBS 3

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