By David Madden
CAMDEN, N. J. (CBS) – It’s full steam ahead on plans to dismantle the Camden City police department and, in effect, have Camden County take over operations with a new countywide force confined, for now, to the city.
But whether the force can grow beyond Camden city is very much an open question.
Privately many police chiefs in the county will tell you they want nothing to do with a countywide force. That’s understandable. It’s their turf, their jobs on the line.
But pressed between a sluggish economy and a state cap on budget increases elected officials are at least thinking about it.
Camden County Freeholder Lou Cappelli, who’s spearheading the county department concept, believes towns have little choice these days.
“I just think five or ten years from now that the existing police structure in New Jersey will be changed drastically and that the counties will be taking the lead in those changes,” explains Cappelli.
But around here most will wait to see how Camden’s situation plays out.
Cappelli plans to announce hiring plans for the new force next week with hopes to begin operations by year’s end.