The police chief in one of America’s most dangerous cities can’t tell the public what he wants or what he believes they should know.
Since at least January — after city officials laid off half his department — Camden chief Scott Thomson has been ordered by Mayor Dana Redd’s administration to defer all press inquiries to her office and get clearance to talk.
During that time, Redd’s office has in a few cases failed to comply with Executive Order #69, which states certain police incident reports “shall be available to the public within 24 hours, or sooner if practicable.” The office has yet to provide this newspaper with police incident reports requested several days ago.
Thomson has addressed the media at city press conferences to say public wouldn’t be jeopardized with half of his officers gone. He’s been silent on the county’s plan to dissolve his police department and form a countywide force. Thomson’s department no longer has the authority to freely release statistics, records or press releases.
by Jeremy Rosen