Camden disbanded their police department. . .

Before you go off the deep end with what the Minneapolis City Council is doing, understand that everybody is doing what they lawfully can do.

Photo by Lauro Rocha on

If you’ve never been to Camden, it was a very interesting city back in the 2008 window. Whitney and I were basically whisked between parking and the concert venue and you could tell something was just broken. In retrospect, it sounds like Camden really tried to do a better job for their community.

Here’s an 8 minute listen:

Camden, NJ Public Safety Now.

How do we make change? We have to keep it local, that’s how this great country of ours is set up. You local leaders should always be closer to the ground and understand what it takes to make a real community. Right now my feet are in 4 different communities. I feel grateful for this experience in this time, because I see a general disparity in view between all four towns. Town one is thriving, with healthy schools, parks that are updated and people walking around town. Another is trying to thrive, they see hope and continue to keep their existing parks in a functional way with a weekly farmers market. Town three tends to see seasonal spikes in hope, they have finally embraced their old rail trail in addition to their water recreation that brings excitement and hustle and bustle, but normally they don’t even need their own police department so they rely on the State Police. Then there is town four where the developers would like to develop, but are figthing the preservationists and have parks run down, the hope meter is growing, but it’s still pretty low.

Why do I mention the local perspectives? They should know what they need best, unfortunately everybody starts by not knowing a whole lot about how things actually work. Training, compensation and the tools provided to public safety can vary greatly based on each of the communities budget allowances. If you really want the federal government to step in and solve the problem, think about what your community really needs the most.

One response to “Camden disbanded their police department. . .”

  1. What some folks don’t understand is that defunding or disbanding your police department does not leave you without public safety protection. Defunding only means that you reallign funding to allow those who are trained police to do the functions that you traditionally think of – response to 911 calls, response to crimes, investigation of crimes, etc. Meanwhile some funding is reallocated to perform those functions that many police now do, but for which they are neither trained nor educated such as intervention in mental health crises, community relations, perhaps domestic violence, (depending on the level), in other words things better handled by social workers or those with psychological training. Disbanding is starting from scratch and approaching policing in a way that is culturally different than the traditional militarization of policing. The military is trained to fight, police should be trained to protect. Obviously it is more complicated to think of doing either, and doing so is far more complex, but necessary to reorient our approach to build on the strengths of good police, remove the “bad apples”, and share info about those bad apples so they don’t simply resurface somewhere else. It is time to rethink our expectations of police and provide them with the resources, (support people, $, benefits, etc.), that will allow them to protect the public and appropriately respond in order to provide for public safety.

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