(TargetLiberty.org) – At first, the calls from protesters to defund the police seemed ludicrous and highly unlikely to gain any mainstream support. But with each passing day, more people are joining in the crazy chorus. These radicals claim that Camden, New Jersey is the perfect model for the defunding of the police. But is it really?
The answer is no.
As usual, the Left is bending the truth to suit its agenda. The real story of Camden, which reorganized the police force in 2013, is not what they’re claiming. While it’s true that crime in the city has gone down in recent years, it’s not due to the defunding of the police.
In 2013, the Camden City police force was replaced by a department operated by the county. Residents claim the move was not done to meet their community needs. They also complain these actions by New Jersey left Camden with a police force of mostly white officers when the community is 90% Black and Latino. Another problem? They don’t require police officers to live in Camden.
So What Really Happened?
In 2012, the city was facing increasing crime rates and deep budget cuts. This caused Camden to dissolve the city police force and replace it with a county force that was at the time nonunionized. The new county police ended up rehiring most of the laid-off cops plus another 100 new officers. Here’s the rub: they paid them less and provided fewer benefits.
This was not the defunding of the Camden police. It was more of a transition from a police department run by the city to one run by the county.
Camden went from a police force of 175 in 2011 to more than 400 after the reorganization. That hardly can be considered disbanding of the police as the Left has been claiming.
It’s Not All Bad
The good news about the moves Camden made is that they now have considerably more resources. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that after the city police became the Camden County Police Department, they got substantially more money. Their budget has only grown since then.
Today the CCPD has a yearly budget of more than $68 million. To put that into some perspective, high-crime Paterson, New Jersey, has an estimated annual police budget of $45 million, and they have a population almost double that of Camden’s.
On Monday, protesters demanded that the CCPD be returned to city control. They also want to make it mandatory that all officers live within Camden, and they’re asking for a community watch group that’ll have voting power.
So no, Camden is not the shining example that proponents of defunding the police claim it to be.
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