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Camden’s New Police Force Marks First 90 Days

Camden’s new police force has marked its first 90 days on the job by highlighting efforts to reduce gun violence in New Jersey’s most impoverished city.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor Chris Christie speaks at the launch of the Camden County Police Department in May (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

Authorities also released data Tuesday that shows from May 1 to July 31, violent crime citywide was down 11 percent compared to the same time period last year. Overall, total crime fell by 20 percent during this period.

Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. says the first 90 days have exceeded expectations, even though there’s a long way to go. The 278-member county-run police force is designed to get more officers on the street at about the same cost.

Standing behind a table covered with firearms seized from city streets, Cappelli and Camden Mayor Dana Redd announced that gun seizures were up 76 percent from this time last year, while homicides are down 29 percent and day time shootings are down more than 44 percent.

“What this is the byproduct of is officer engagement,” Camden County Police Scott Thomson said during the news conference. “This is the byproduct of officers enforcing quality-of-life issues.”

Thomson also noted a sharp drop in the officer absentee rate, which is at four percent so far compared to 30 percent last year.

“When you have officers that come to work and do good proactive, positive, community policing, this is the result.”

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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