by Jericka Duncan
CAMDEN, N.J., (CBS) – The Camden County Metro Police Division is hoping to make a difference on some of our area’s toughest streets.
CBS 3’s Jericka Duncan was the only reporter to go for a ride-along with officers.
We visited the Parkside section of the city, an area that has been labeled by police as drug invested and dangerous. But police are hoping to change all of that now that there are more of them on the streets.
Officer Troy Red worked for the Camden City Police Department for 20 years.
Now he’s a part of the Camden County Metro Police Division, which becomes the official policing agency for Camden at the end of this month.
The goal is to have 400 officers in the city versus the 175 they’ve had for the past two years.
“This new department will have the man power to effect and attack areas where we were weak before, due to man power,” said officer Redd.
An important difference between the old and new department – police are walking the streets more and they say they’re doing their best to engage the community.
“It feels good to see them walking everyday when I take my son to school,” said mother of two Tiyonna Thomas. “They’re there at the corner.”
Some residents are skeptical, asking how long will this effort last.
“They will take their field training and actually stay there as a police officer, they’re not going to leave that neighborhood,” said Camden County Spokesman Dan Keashen.
Keashen says what residents see in Parkside will soon be the norm everywhere in the city. Camden County Freeholder Scot McCray says it’s necessary to maintain the same effort overtime.
“Personally, being born and raised here, there’s a different sense of policing and residents are seeing it and that’s positive,” said McCray.
Officials say they’ll have 400 officers working within the Metro Division by the end of this summer or early fall.