By KYW community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — President Barack Obama spent time in the city of Camden Monday afternoon, touring the new Camden County Police Headquarters and meeting with law enforcement officials. He then gave remarks at the Kroc Community Center on Harrison Avenue.
“This is a moment of great promise, this is a moment of great hope,” said President Obama.
President Obama spoke before a crowd of a few hundred noting how two years ago, Camden was a violent city with little hope.
“Parents were afraid to let their children play outside, drug dealers operated in broad daylight,” said the President.
But the President commended Camden elected officials, Police Chief Scott Thomson and community groups for changing the city for the better with a new Camden County Police force and cops that walk the streets getting to know residents.
“They’re getting more help from the community because the community has seen them and knows them,” said President Obama.
President Obama cites this method for reduced murder and crime rates, saying Camden is a now model for the country in a post-Ferguson and Baltimore America.
“We know that change is possible because we’ve seen it in places like this,” said President Obama.
The President says there’s more work to be done to improve education and job opportunities and to end mass incarceration and military-style policing.
Community residents lined up all along Harrison Avenue saying the President’s visit gave them hope of a better Camden to come.
President Obama’s visit is the first to Camden by a president since FDR.