CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – The union representing Camden’s police officers has vowed to battle efforts to disband the city’s police force and replace it with a new Camden County police department.  The union’s president, meanwhile, suggests that any change to the current structure could bring some serious problems.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1 president John Williamson (photo) compared Camden to London — both towns impoverished and beds of social unrest. He believes a new police force, with many inexperienced officers, would lead to increased crime and more.

“This is not a drill. This is happening now and the threat of potential riots is real,” he told reporters today.

But Camden County freeholder-director Lou Cappelli considers it “unconscionable” that Williamson would make such a suggestion.

“There will be no increased risk of riots,” he told KYW Newsradio this afternoon.  “In fact, we would double the number of police officers on the street.”

Camden City Council approved its end of the deal to start the changeover (see related story).  The county votes on the plan next week.

Williamson says he’s working on legal ways to stop the conversion, although he wouldn’t go into detail.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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