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Head of Camden FOP Warns of Possible Riots If City Adopts County Policing

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – The union representing Camden’s police officers has vowed to battle efforts to disband the city’s police force and replace it with a new Camden County police department.  The union’s president, meanwhile, suggests that any change to the current structure could bring some serious problems.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1 president John Williamson (photo) compared Camden to London — both towns impoverished and beds of social unrest. He believes a new police force, with many inexperienced officers, would lead to increased crime and more.

“This is not a drill. This is happening now and the threat of potential riots is real,” he told reporters today.

But Camden County freeholder-director Lou Cappelli considers it “unconscionable” that Williamson would make such a suggestion.

“There will be no increased risk of riots,” he told KYW Newsradio this afternoon.  “In fact, we would double the number of police officers on the street.”

Camden City Council approved its end of the deal to start the changeover (see related story).  The county votes on the plan next week.

Williamson says he’s working on legal ways to stop the conversion, although he wouldn’t go into detail.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Mark Matis

    Getting rid of the pigs is the SMARTEST thing that Camden could ever do! Clean out the sewage, and you might actually end up with some HONEST cops for a change! Of course, that ain’t gonna happen if you merely move the Camden pigs into the new force.

  • TeaPublicany

    People need to quit complaining and pointing fingers! It’s your own fault for voting yourself a greedy raise everytime you vote.

    America needs honest leadership and you could start with Ron Paul, he’s thee only one not to have lied to the American people!

    Do you think these kids are dumb? They know they have nothing to look forward to. You old people, quit spending your SS money at Bingo and the Casino, maybe you could change things a little by spending some time.

  • Grag

    Did he just compare camden to london? hahahahahahha

  • more cops now needed not later

    I can’t believe they are even thinking about getting rid of the police force and rehire a bunch of new guys at half the price while keeping a few of the old ones. I’m sure it is Because of the experienced ones that are already in place are the reason there hasn’t been more trouble already! Let’s get rid of the city officials and replace them with school kids. With the Big Coopers Hospital in the city, I find it hard to believe they think this is a good idea.

  • Smart Thing to DO

    This guy is right about the potential for riots. The city officials need to be the ones laid off! Give the cops what they need to get rid of the criminals. Clean the place up and you have another Hoboken on your hands. Taxpayers in other town can then stop paying for Camden and put the money into their own town. That’s the smart thing but they want to go plan and build a new building. Unbelievable.!

  • Vom Brunhaus

    No riots there nothing left for them to steal. Capelli should move to Camden maybe open a Pizza shop or Fried Chicken.

  • TeaPublicany

    If Republicans could have a fake Tea Party that does nothing to address UNFREE TRADE or job creation here in America rather than China, Why can’t Democrats have Minutemen that communicate by cell phone?

    Not to allow it is unpatriotic!

  • Jack F

    Its the JOB of a police officer to warn the public if there is even a threat. After reading about the London riots, I completely agree with officer Williamson’s comments.

  • Don't spread the problems, Fix them

    The last thing Camden needs is to plan and develop a bigger and more complicated department. This county police idea is only going to spread the problems of camden into the other towns that will be involved. This will lower our house value and increase our taxes because we still haven’ dealt with the problem. The police are right. Just like we offer additional troops to combat hot spots of activity in wars, we need to do the same here. Let the police lead and the officials need to stay out of a process they know nothing about! I can totally see a riot start and there will be no excuses for the city officials.

  • Angry County Taxpayer

    This will be just another tax increase for the Camden County Taxpayers, we already pay two sewer bills, local and county and now we will be paying for our local police and county police. I thought Freeholder Cappelli was elected to be a County Freeholder not a official for Camden City. I believe the residents of Camden voted for a Mayor and Council to represent them not this political puppet that neglects to pay his own property taxes.

  • Jason M

    Just the news of the tax hike could put Canden into a riot. Anyone who doesn’t think riots in camden could easily happen are not dealing with reality! They should listen to this guy and get prepared rather than focus on plans and positions for the new department!

  • Riots ARE Possible

    Mr. Williamson is doing the right thing by publicly warning city officials about a potential riot. Like the riots in London, it wasn’t a major event that burned the city down. It was the inability of the police to control the escalation of the upset crowd who also used social media to get bigger. If the city officials keep their head in the sand, they won’t learn the valuable lessons from London’s incident!

  • Wake Up City Officials

    I am surprised it has not already happened in Camden. City officials should visit London and get a reality check to see how fast a major riot can occur! Camden is different than any other city and needs to be treated as a high risk rather than just a problem child. No one expected a riot in London either now they just wished they were prepared. Camden officials should listen top the police officers. They are the experts, not your focus groups!

  • Susan Black

    Mr. Rich Cerzosimo is actually the one who is mentally impaired! My mother was in the area affected by the riots. City officials have no idea how powerful the tension that exists in an area of unrest. My mother’s area did not have the high crime rate that exists in the city of Camden so I happen to agree with Mr. Williamson 100 % that his city is at higher risk for potential riots. Just ask the officials of London!

    • Rich Cerzosimo

      Interesting…I tried to post this reply, DAYS ago, and thought I was successful. If a site moderator is taking my replies off the site, please get in touch with me via Facebook and please let me know why. In the meantime, here’s my original reply to Ms. Black:

      To start off with, by stating that I’m actually the one who is mentally impaired, you’ve committed libel. When I made my original comment, I questioned whether or not Mr. Williams was mentally impaired and then went on to opine that comparing the national capital of England to a town that is so mismanaged as to be run by the State of New Jersey, IE: Camden, was ‘reckless and uninformed.’

      In the 12 month period ending March 2010, London saw a total of 117 killings ( in a city that is 607 sq. miles (1572.1 km2) ( with a 2010 population of 7,825,200 persons (ibid). Compare that to Camden NJ: In the period ending 21 December 2009, Camden saw a total of 33 killings ( in a city that is 10.4 sq. miles (26.9 km2) ( with a 2010 population of 77,344 (ibid).

      Next: You mention that your mother was in the area affected by the riots. Are we to assume that your mother is a Londoner? This would only be a logical conclusion to make as the riots in the original article were in London. Assuming this is so, are the city officials you reference the London officials or Camden officials? Assuming for the moment that you were referring to Camden, I posit this to you: do you honestly believe that the officials of Camden have no idea how powerful the tension that exists in an area of unrest? Of course they do; the difference in Camden is that the officials do not care about the citizens that they’ve sworn to protect and serve. This is evidenced by the high number of city officials who have been arrested and convicted for caring more about their own (unlawful) gains than the city that they’ve been elected to lead.

      In short, Ms. Black, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • bottomline

    Actually the movements to defy the laws of natural selection, e.g. Darwinism, are at the seat of societies problems. We are what we are, and we will be what we are supposed to be – pretending is only a way to evade the facts, a socially costly evasion.

  • Rich Cerzosimo

    Is Mr. Williams mentally impaired? To compare Camden to London (which, incidentally, is the CAPITAL of England and no where near as impoverished as Camden) is reckless and uninformed.

    Stating that there would be ‘many inexperienced officers (on the street)’ is just as ridiculous as anything else. First of all, the officers of the Camden Police Department would likely be moved to the new County Department. So, they’re still there. Second, has he even considered the amount of ‘lateral transfers’ to the newly created department? No, it doesn’t seem that he has.

    Stop and think and realize that things simply cannot continue on in the fashion that they have. The world has changed, like it or not. Because of that, many more changes are going to have to be made.

  • Angry Revolutionary

    Perhaps it’s time we allow Social Darwinsim to run it’s course in these cities!

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