CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – Camden County police chiefs have pulled out of a committee looking into the formation of a countywide police department.

No problem, says the effort’s main proponent — they’re ready to go ahead with the plan right now if a town steps up to join.

The chiefs are worried that the county is moving too quickly towards consolidation and that their input isn’t being considered.

Untrue, says county freeholder director Lou Cappelli, who suggests that the chiefs are simply protecting their turf.

Robert Carrara, of Berlin, NJ,  who heads up the Camden County Police Chiefs Association, disputes that.
“It’s not a matter of saving our jobs. Most of us can retire tomorrow. We’re looking out for the residents of our communities and how they’re going to get the best protection they can afford,” he told KYW Newsradio today.

Nevertheless, Freeholder Cappelli says, the plan can move ahead with or without a particular police chief on board.

“If a municipality told us today that they wanted to be part of the Camden County police department, we could have that department up and operating within 90 to 120 days,” he says.

And while no town’s made that call yet, a few are thinking about it — including the cash-strapped City of Camden.

Cappelli suggests it wouldn’t be all that difficult, since the physical resources are already in place. They’d need to figure out a cost, and then hire officers and administrators accountable to the county.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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