Camden County officials say it's a way to get out from under a costly union contract and bring more police to the street that consistently ranks as one of the nation's most dangerous.
But unless police unions agree to the change, many officers could lose their jobs. And those who remain will see their take-home pay reduced.
The Fraternal Order of Police lodge that represents city officers is fighting the plan in court but has also started talks with Camden County officials to try to save officers' jobs.
The homicide rate has soared in the already-dangerous city since deep police layoffs began in January 2011.