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By David Madden

CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) – Opponents of a plan to form a new Camden County Police Department, with the city of Camden it’s one and only participant, have laid out their plans to kill the whole idea before it ever gets started.

Police union leaders were flanked by community activists on the steps of Camden City Hall. Former city councilman Ali Sloan-El believes the move to a countywide force isn’t meant to keep the people safe, “That is union busting and that is taking our rights and this is a takeover and we’re not going to allow it.”

READ: Transition From Citywide to Countywide Policing in Camden, NJ Moves Ahead
READ: Union Official Calls Camden County Policing Plan a Union-Busting Tactic

Ed Branigan, president of the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police, says he’s stunned that Democrats in Camden County and the city would go for something like this. “This is something you’d expect from the Republicans, not from the Democrats. It’s an all-out assault on police unions. It’s union busting — plain and simple union busting.”

Camden FOP president John Williamson (pictured at microphone) explains what they’re going to do about it, “We have several things on the table. We’re planning a lawsuit. At this point we also have a petition initiative.”

That petition would, if successful, put a binding referendum on next spring’s ballot that could stop the proposed transfer. They need 900 signatures, but organizers are going for 5,000. As for the planned lawsuit, leaders didn’t say much, save for promising that action when the time is right. Proponents suggest a new countywide force could be on the streets of Camden by April.

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