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Camden FOP protest mayor's police plan

August 11, 2012 9:22:32 PM PDT
People are applauding Camden FOP President John Williamson for publicly protesting Mayor Dana Redd's plan to dismantle the Camden City Police Department.

"It is a bad decision, because it's an untested, unproven, unstudied plan," said Williamson.

Williamson spoke before a crowd Saturday afternoon. It was Day 1 of an unofficial campaign to educate the Camden community about the proposed public safety changes.

Changes that would disband the police department, layoff nearly 300 officers, and form a brand new regional police force governed by Camden County.

Added protection of about 400 newly trained officers would be placed on the streets.

A less-experienced team deployed to patrol dangerous and unfamiliar territories is concerning to Wendy Wilkes.

"They don't know the city. They don't know the residents. They don't know the culture; all three of those are paramount to being a good police officer in the city of Camden," Wilkes said.

Mayor Redd announced the new crime-fighting concept Tuesday.

Details of the plan are expected to be submitted to the state by the end of the month.

The FOP wants in on the discussion.

"We're going to fight this until they come back to the table, talk to us and negotiate a sensible resolution to this issue. And a sensible issue is not firing the entire police department and starting a new police department from the ground up," said Williamson.

The Camden FOP is rallying the community to fight this issue on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. at city hall to tell the city council members how they feel.


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