By Cleve Bryan, David Madden
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – That new police force in Camden, New Jersey — run by the county — was beefed up last weekend, with the addition of 89 graduates from the county police academy. But the Camden County Police Metro Division is not at full staffing just yet.
County freeholder director Lou Cappelli led the fight for the change, promising more boots on the ground, more bang for the tax buck and a stronger sense of security for residents.
Now, several months into operation, Cappelli insists the 321 officers now on the street have helped to fulfill that pledge, but there’s still some work to do:
“We are at our goal which was 411, but all 411 won’t be on the streets until those in the academy graduate, which will be in June.”
That’s assuming all 90 current cadets graduate.
Audubon, New Jersey native Keith Adams is one of the new officers. He’s learning quickly his job comes with more fist bumps and even hugs than you might expect:
“It’s something I really enjoy, it’s getting to know the people.”
Camden Police are now relying much more heavily then they used to on foot patrols. It’s become more about forging relationships, rather than flexing muscles, says Sgt. Troy Redd:
“When crimes happen, these are the people who are first to see the stuff and there’s a lot of good people in the city, they don’t want to see that stuff on their block.”
For established businessmen Darien and Byron Gans, it’s a welcome new approach:
“You can tell, you can look up the street and see police walking now, they not just riding by you so it’s a difference,” Darien says.
The new officers were patrolling the streets Christmas Eve, which isn’t easy, but as Officer Christian Jeffries points out, can be satisfying.
“You might not be with your own families, but at least we have our unit, and we’re all together and it’s going to be a good Christmas for us.”
The new officers will allow for increased patrols in Whitman Park and North Camden, and better community policing citywide.