CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) — Camden mayor Dana Redd insists that layoffs of public safety personnel can be reduced, even now that they have taken effect, if police and firefighters’ unions bargain meaningfully with the city on cutting a $26.5-million municipal deficit.

Mayor Redd (above) says up to 100 of the 168 police officers let go could be brought back if their union weren’t protecting its own interests.

“The union leadership, in many respects, chose to protect the average salary,” Redd said on Tuesday.

The FOP is said to be considering an idea from Redd that may bring some of the cops back.

Sixty-seven firefighters are also gone (see previous story), along with almost 100 “non-uniformed” workers like Kevin Murphy, who spent his last day on the job clearing ice from the sidewalk near City Hall.

“We took the 26 furlough days and I’m still getting laid off,” Murphy said.

Now, 92 percent of the police still on the force will be on the street, but no one could directly answer whether that’s enough to adequately protect the people who live in one of America’s most dangerous cities.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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