By David Madden

(CAMDEN, NJ) — Camden County took time out to honor more than 100 police officers and civilians for work above and beyond as part of the county’s police department Metro Division.

46 specific commendations were handed out. One went to Detective Keith James, a 27 year police veteran, who along with a half dozen other officers tracked down a suspect wanted in more than a dozen arson fires in Camden over the 4th of July weekend last year.

“A lot of times, you have a particular job that you think no one really paid attention to and then all of the sudden you’re notified that you’re receiving an award,” James told KYW Newsradio. “I think it’s a great morale booster especially for the younger officers.”

Thomson on right w/Camden County Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli at awards ceremony — Credit: David Madden

Chief Scott Thomson sees this as such a valuable tool, he’s now giving out these awards not just once but four times a year.

“We want to recognize officers as quickly as possible for times that they don’t use force and times that they are able to save lives and the times that they’re out there doing amazing community policing, which is helping us reduce crime,” Thomson said.

That, in turn, is helping in Camden’s resurgence.

Awards were also given to business leaders who have contributed to those community outreaches, everything from outdoor movies to pick-up basketball games with kids, all to build trust.

Wide shot of ceremony held at Campbell’s Soup HQ in Camden — Credit: David Madden