Camden County Police Department
|Camden County Police Department|
|Motto||Service Before Self|
|Formed||May 1, 2013|
|Preceding agency||Camden Police Department|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Operations jurisdiction*||City of Camden in the state of New Jersey, USA|
|Foreground: Camden County, New Jersey, with the City of Camden highlighted.
Background: New Jersey, with Camden County highlighted.
|Size||11.4 square miles (30 km2)|
|Governing body||Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders|
|Headquarters||800 Federal St.
Camden, NJ 08103
|Agency executive||Scott Thomson, Chief of Police|
|Mobile observation platforms||Sky Patrol|
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
The Camden County Police Department (CCPD) is a regional police agency in Camden County, New Jersey, formed in 2013, and the primary law enforcement agency for the city of Camden, New Jersey. It is the successor to the City of Camden Police Department. It is sometimes referred to as the Metro Division even though, unlike many other metropolitan police forces in the United States, it presently does not patrol outside of the city. The department is available to all municipalities in Camden County on a voluntary basis, although no municipalities other than the City of Camden have announced plans to join the county police district.
Establishment of county department
On August 2, 2011, the City of Camden and Camden County announced that the city police department would be disbanded in favor of a new county police force. Well-known law enforcement executive John Timoney was retained to develop an organizational and functional plan for the department.
The creation of the county police force in place of the city force was expected to save between $14 and $16 million annually out of the $60 million budget of the city police department. Unlike the city police department it replaces, the new county department is not unionized. Savings were expected to come from reducing the fringe benefits that had been required under the city's union contract. 
The move was endorsed by the Mayor of Camden, Dana Redd, who indicated that the new police department would be more cost-effective, and that the high absentee rate of city officers had affected the former department's ability to keep the city safe. An official of the Camden Fraternal Order of Police, which represented city police officers, described the plan as "union busting" and called it "a recipe for disaster" that would replace experienced city officers with new personnel unfamiliar with the city. A community group known as the Citizens' Community Committee for Public Safety, along with the Camden Fraternal Order of Police, criticized the plan as being political, not practical. The mayor's political opponents also criticized the disbandment of the city's department.
The new department took over primary responsibility for policing the City of Camden on May 1, 2013. It reached its full complement of 401 sworn officers on June 7, 2013, when 92 recruits were commissioned.
On October 1, 2013, the results of a vote by County Police officers to unionize were announced. By a margin of two votes, the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police (NJFOP) was selected to represent the officers. The previous month, superior officers voted to be represented by the NJFOP.
In June 2013, the department deployed a mobile observation platform called "Sky Patrol," which contains surveillance cameras and thermal imaging cameras and can be elevated 35 feet (11 m) into the air to help monitor crime. It was procured with $135,000 in forfeited funds. The maker of the system, FLIR Systems, claims that it can enable a single officer to see more than three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) and oversee an area that would normally require five officers. A spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor acknowledged that the system could see into homes. Criminal lawyers and civil libertarians have raised concerns that use of the system may conflict with citizens' expectation of privacy.
On June 20, 2013, the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved the addition of a private force of civilian ambassadors to provide a security presence and serve as the eyes and ears of the police department in Camden's downtown shopping district. A contract was entered with the private security firm AlliedBarton to provide 70 to 100 ambassadors when state funds become available.
Crime in Camden
Camden consistently ranks among the cities in the United States with the highest crime rate based on Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics.
In 2008, Camden had 2,333 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents, compared to the national rate of 455. In 2004, 2005, and 2009, Camden was ranked America's "most dangerous city" by CQ Press, which ranks cities based on reported murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft data.
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- Camden County Police Department (official website). Retrieved July 22, 2013.
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- Charnet, Julie (June 15, 2013). "Camden's Sky Patrol elicits privacy concerns" (subscription required). Courier-Post.
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- Harris, David (October 29, 2012). "Flint drops title of most violent in nation, according to expanded FBI stats". MLive.com.