Camden police ask for public's help in search of man, year-old boy
Arrests plummeted. NBC News Thomson said all new recruits were told on their first day that their jobs would more fental resemble those of Peace Corps members than Special Forces operatives. Zack James and Officer Mayah Bailey speak to a resident.
Instead of shooting ofr or trying to disarm him, they walked with him for several minutes. Roughly half of Camden's police officers were laid off. Scott Thomson, former police chief who led the transformation of Camden's police department.
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The officers encountered the man on the sidewalk outside. The new approach was on vivid display in when police surveillance video captured an extraordinary encounter with a man brandishing a knife.
Politicians in Camden, including Dana Redd, loo,ing the mayor, lent their support to breaking up the city's all-union police department and replacing it with a larger but lower-paid force. InCamden recorded 67 homicides and shooting victims. Bythe of homicides had dropped to 25, a decline of nearly 63 percent from They tried to disable him with a stun gun, but that failed. The Camden Police Department underwent the unprecedented overhaul inleading to sharp reductions in crime and a focus lookinv improved community relations.
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Bradley-Powers also said the department's racial makeup doesn't match that of the predominantly Black city. The crime rate soon gentak to drop. NBC News "It's a little better now. Critical newspaper articles were published. With the city in dire straits, Christie and state Democratic lawmakers pushed to regionalize its police force.
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Violent crime spiked. Rich Schapiro contributed. The reality, residents and advocates say, is complicated. And that was a gntal in time that really aled to me that the cops got it right. Amid the backlash, Thomson took rapid steps to transform the department's approach to low-level offenses, said Alex Shalom, a senior attorney at the ACLU of New Jersey.
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And in the early days of the transition to the new force, she was concerned because of the white officers' lack of exposure to Black people. Protests turned violent in several cities, including Philadelphia, but Camden remained calm. Sir, drop the knife," one of the officers said repeatedly. And three years later, it adopted one of the nation's most comprehensive use-of-force policies, an document seen as a model for other departments.
hut Camden faced a crisis beginning inwhen the state slashed aid funding as part of spending cuts that Chris Christie, then the governor, imposed in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Still, the officers managed to tackle the man to the ground and disarm him, apparently without causing serious injury. On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Camden County police Lt.
In its early days, the new force ramped up summonses for such offenses as riding a bicycle without a bell, sparking a backlash from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. The new force was led by the existing Camden police chief, Scott Thomson. A group of officers responded to an eatery after the man walked in and menaced customers. He moved to remake the ethos of the department.
But by the turn of the century, the city was in steep decline, and suffering from a population exodus. Summonses skyrocketed for gwntal offensessuch as failing to maintain car lights, having tinted windows and riding bicycle without bells or lights.
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Corinne Bradley-Powers, who runs an acclaimed soul food restaurant, said she was heartened by the sight of the police chief marching side by side with protesters. Zack James stood on the corner of North Fifth and State streets, where several families could be seen sitting on their stoops.
Lookihg groups complained. Seven years later, with the nation grappling over police reform after the killing of George Floydattention has turned to Camden for lessons on the path forward. Camden no doubt feels safer than it was a decade ago, they acknowledge, but the process was rocky, and problems persist.
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Despite stiff pressure from the union and an outspoken group of residents, the Camden Police Department was formally disbanded in But she lamented that cops are rarely seen on the streets around her restaurant, Corinne's Place. It was ranked the most dangerous city in Americawith a murder rate more than 18 times the national average, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
We have a rapport," Bradley-Powers said. The department ultimately reversed course and implemented sweeping policy changes, but some long-term residents said the current stable of officers, nearly half of whom are white pooking many of whom live far from town, still have much work to do in building trust and confidence within the community.
It's dramatically changed.