Camden, Are you Kidding me?
Camden, NJ. The city I was born in. The most dangerous or second most dangerous city in the country over the past several years. Camden currently ranks as the 2nd most dangerous city in the country. Camden, one of the Abbott districts. Camden, a school district that fails to graduate even half of it’s students. Camden, a city that has seen corrupt politicians that lead it go to prison in every decade of my lifetime.
Now, as a result of the criminal mismanagement of this city over a period of decades, they are utterly unable to provide even basic protections to the few citizens that are still there.
The city of Camden is home to one of the best trauma centers in New Jersey. I was born there. My grandparents lived in Camden prior to moving to Haddonfield. My grandfather worked in Camden. I visited him often as a young boy. My father worked at Cooper Hospital for a period of time when I was a young boy. I have been intimately familiar with the city of Camden my entire life. The city has been the home to the corporate headquarters of one of America’s most iconic companys’, Campbells Soup.
The city of Camden has also lead the nation in murders and other violent crime, this despite a police force that was more than adequate for their population.
Their police force has been rocked by corrupt officers resulting in not only the release of convicts but the dropping of charges against other criminals. All of this has happened even with the State of New Jersey overseeing the police force. With a record like that, is it any wonder, or even a coincidence, why a suspected cop killer fled to Camden?
Camden’s fiscal problems can not and should not be laid at the feet of New Jersey citizens. Camden’s crime problem can not and should not be laid at the feet of New Jersey citizens. Camden’s problems (fiscal and criminal) should be laid at the feet of the corrupt politicians and corrupt police officers that have collectively destroyed Camden during the past several decades. It is simply unconscionable to suddenly claim that the taxpayers of New Jersey need to support the city of Camden.
On Wednesday, there were many news reports here, here, and here, among others, that lamented the police layoffs in Camden. Yes, roughly half the police force was laid off. But what lead to that? Was it the complete and total criminal mismanagement of the city over a period of years? Should the rest of the citizens of New jersey have to pay for that?
It turns out that well over two thirds of the laid off police officers could have been re-hired as early as yesterday. The problem with that, according to news reports, centered around a mere three (3) days a month of unpaid furlough time for six (6) months, and then one (1) day a month for the next year. So for thirty (30) days over the next eighteen (18) months, the police union, which has notoriously represented corrupt police officers over the years, refuses to protect the citizens that remain in Camden. How pathetic! That bears repeating: For a mere thirty (30) days off over the next eighteen (18) months, the police union which has notoriously represented corrupt police officers over the years, refuses to protect the citizens that remain in Camden!
By all accounts, Mayor Dana Redd is trying to get control of the ridiculous expenditures in Camden. She is trying to get control of her city. I wish her good luck. If the police union (which has a habit of representing criminal police officers) is going to be this adamant in their stance, then she did the only thing a responsible chief executive could do; she had to let them go. Sooner, rather than later, the public sector unions of New Jersey need to get the memo that they do not govern the state. They do not have a never ending gravy train that feeds their every whim and desire.
Yes, some public sector unions, like the Camden Police, come off and appear greedy. If Camden was the most dangerous city in America, or the 2nd most dangerous city in America, with the corrupt police force they were deploying, why wouldn’t their union want to preserve as many good officers’ jobs as they can? They had an opportunity to do that, and chose not to. Why? Why won’t the good officers in the Camden Police Department stand up and ask these simple questions?
Camden has a lot of problems, but the citizens of South Jersey, all of New Jersey, need to ask why those problems start with the police union? The very people that should be protecting, serving, and starting a rebuilding process in one of our country’s poorest city’s, is instead, hellbent on making matters worse. Why? Why are those that are sworn to protect and serve so determined to undermine and destroy? This should be unacceptable, regardless of your political persuasion.