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Camden Police, Residents Brace For Layoffs

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Residents of Camden are steeling themselves for massive police and fire department layoffs that take effect Tuesday.

Members of the group Camden Churches Organized for People gathered to pray for the city, on the eve of the layoffs that will eliminate half of the beleaguered city’s police department and a quarter of its workforce overall.

Father Martin Gutwein of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (in the above photo wearing a green scarf) says residents in this already crime-ridden city are scared.

“We don’t know what’ll happen,” said Father Gutwein. “But we do know that our people are fearful of what’ll happen because experience says it won’t be good.”

Robin Rieger reports…

Asante Wilson, a seven-year-veteran of the fire department, expects to be laid off.

“Well, it’s hard to do our job with the amount of people we have already on staff, so to do it with less is going to make our job even harder to do,” said Wilson.

A spokesman for Camden Mayor Dana Redd says her door is open if the city unions want to talk about concessions that could save jobs.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio; Robin Rieger, CBS 3

  • Mother of Camden Police Officer

    This should have been done many many months ago these talks you are asking for. I work in the city of Camden and have a son on the police force there. I know the effect it will have on the many hard working residents there. This is a crime ridden city and we need to help in any way we can. You have a very strong police force in this city that are faced with different crimes daily. What happens when this police force is cut? How will the children feel safe and the residents that pay taxes there.
    Camden Officers have worked short compared to the cxrimes they fight daily and they have stayed strong and DEDICATED to the city iof Camden. We need to HELP them do their job.
    Stop sending money to other countries in need when we cannot protect our own citizens right here in Camden.
    My son joined the Camden Police Force to make a difference and he did with the fine training and discipline he was given through out his career the last 18 years.
    Many people of Camden have worked hard to keep their homes neat and free of drig neighborhoods and vandillism. Help them maintain this by keeping these officers on duty as they are very MUCH NEEDED. .

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