CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – Camden’s police department — which saw half its officers laid off last January (see related story) — is getting some help at the top.   Mayor Dana Redd has appointed a new civilian police director.

Camden police chief J. Scott Thomson (at left in photo) has been doing double-duty for the past year, handling the police operations and making decisions on personnel and finance matters.

Now, 59-year-old retired state police major Lanuel Ferguson, as the new $100,000-a-year police director, will take on the personnel issues and allow Thomson to devote his time to reducing Camden’s rising crime rate.

Mayor Dana Redd (at right in photo) says Ferguson is filling a job that’s been vacant since last fall.

“The addition of a police director is not an indication that there are problems in our current structure,” she said.   “Today’s announcement is about enhancing our current police department by allowing Chief Thomson to focus on the operations and deployment of our officers.”

Among other innovations, Thomson’s force is using a newly installed “eye in the sky” video surveillance system to deter crime and aid in prosecutions.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE