A New Jersey city with a persistently high crime rate and a yawning budget deficit plans to eliminate its police department.
The city of Camden, often described as one of the country's most violent, will lay off its entire force of 270 cops and instead rely on a reorganized county unit to patrol its streets, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
The switch is expected to save millions for the financially burdened city near Philadelphia, but critics have slammed it as a backdoor attack on unions. The new Metro Division of the Camden County police won't have collective bargaining, according to Fox News.
Revamping local law enforcement comes as Camden is on pace to set an ignominious record for the most shootings and murders, NPR said.
Layoffs in the city department start this month and less than half can expect to get a job with the county., Fox reported. The force would become defunct at the end of the year.
The financial woes engulfing Camden that forced it to slash its police department have been a stubborn symptom of the city's dysfunction. Last year, 167 officers got pink slips.
The diminished force was overburdened with major crimes that that they had to stop responding to minor car accidents, petty thefts and vandalism.
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1,006 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.
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855 violent crimes per 100,000 residents
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827 violent crimes per 100,000 residents
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813 violent crimes per 100,000 residents