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

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