"Camden's problem is everybody's problem," he said. "Once [the criminals] bleed Camden, you don't think they're going to be looking at Gloucester City and Westville?"
~State Senator Sweeney
by James Osbome
The concept of a regionalized police force has been discussed in Camden County for decades. But Collingswood Mayor Jim Maley said state politicians such as Sweeney were getting behind the concept in a way he hadn't seen before.
"There was some support, but it was always money to do a study. There was no commitment or political will, and we need that because it's not going to get done otherwise," Maley said.
The countywide force has largely been touted as a cost-saving measure, reducing the administrative costs of policing and potentially putting more officers on the streets.
County freeholders have been careful to distance the proposal from Camden's police layoffs. But Sweeney addressed the issue directly Tuesday, calling the situation a "crisis."
Public-safety salaries and benefits in New Jersey have risen steadily over the last decade, as towns flush with rising property-tax bases agreed to contracts that sometimes pay veteran police officers more than $100,000.
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