Having grown up not too far away from that Garden State Gem of Camden, New Jersey, it doesn’t strike me as an area where cutting back on law enforcement would be wise but, according to this story in the Philadelphia Inquirer, that’s what’s happening.
Dave Seybert, a nine-year veteran of the Camden police force, handed in his gun and badge Monday afternoon at police headquarters.
“They shook my hand and told me good luck,” said Seybert, 32, of Audubon, Camden County. “The hardest part was walking out the door.”
Seybert, who thought he would survive the cuts until a layoff notice two weeks ago, was among the first wave of officers turning in their equipment.
Hope for a last-minute solution to the city’s budget crisis steadily waned Monday. There was still some uncertainty about what the final numbers would be, but it was expected that about 163 police officers, 60 firefighters, and 150 non-uniformed city employees would lose their jobs.
Police Chief Scott Thomson said he would have about 200 officers to police one of the nation’s most dangerous cities. Still, he said, the department will maintain the ability to proactively fight crime.
Apparently, union leaders and city officials couldn’t come to an agreement on labor negotiations and this was the result, part of the ongoing saga of strong public unions pitted against a cash strapped state where, “you can’t get there from here” ought to be their combined motto. Hopefully, California is watching to see how this sort of thing works.