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Further Discussion Held on Regional Police and Fire Force

press release

 

As the next step in the process of evaluating the feasibility of a regionalized countywide police SCHOOL_CHOICE force, the Police Committee met last week at the Regional Emergency Training Center in Blackwood.

 

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  Camden County has also proposed a regionalized fire department.


  Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. welcomed the participants and reviewed the highlights of the March 23 meeting with Governor Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney.


  At that session, the state had offered to be a partner with Camden County as it charts this course exploring regionalization.


  The County’s role, working through its Shared Services Division, is to serve as facilitator of this project.

  “The time is now to act in the best interests of the taxpayers by taking progressive action in public safety,” said Capelli, who thanked the mayors and chiefs for lending their expertise to this endeavor.
  If adopted, it would follow a Shared Services model that the County has used in other areas to provide services to taxpayers more effectively and efficiently.

  The first order of business was to suggest a number of subcommittees be formed within this larger committee.

  “Quality public safety service is of vital importance to our residents,” Cappelli said. “From quality of life issues to their children’s safety and their personal safety, the public demands and should receive the very best public safety services.”

  He explained that regionalizing the delivery of public safety can offer many benefits including effectiveness, efficiency and cost-savings.

  But he echoed concerns expressed by mayors and freeholders that, poorly done, regionalization could create problems instead of solving them.

  “For that reason, we’re suggesting the formation of several subcommittees in order to bring Best Practices to all areas of governance, operations and administration of such a model,” said Capelli, presenting the various subcommittees and asking members to get back to the County with a list of members for each subcommittee.

  Among the suggested subcommittees are:

  Governance Model: Will review the Joint Insurance Fund   model where municipalities do insurance as a shared service. As part of this, they will review memorandums of understanding between regional agencies and districts within their jurisdiction.

  Operations: Will do a comparison of regional policing models and determine whether it’s necessary to have a facilitator/con-sultant to undertake a comprehensive study

  Special Services: Which service delivery areas should be separated for efficiency, effectiveness and cost-savings? This group would look at things like Detective Bureaus, SERT/SWAT, traffic control, administration, payroll, HR, training.

  Staffing: Current personnel overview and what’s the optimal staffing level for a countywide agency? For a region or district? How do we get there?

  Criminal Justice Implications: Are there implications for a start-up agency? Does this affect the delivery of prosecutorial services or Sheriff’s offices services?

  The main committee will meet monthly. The countywide fire committee will meet for the first time later this month.


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