PDA

View Full Version : Budget strapped crime capital Camden to lay off all police.


Wigglytuff
Aug 26th, 2012, 11:04 PM
Who says austerity doesnt work? Who says you need government?

Camden Police Department Will Be Eliminated And Replaced By Metro Department: Plan
The Huffington Post *|* By Michael McLaughlin
Posted: 08/26/2012 2:48 pm Updated: 08/26/2012 2:48 pm

A New Jersey city with a persistently high crime rate and a yawning budget deficit plans to eliminate its police department.

The city of Camden, often described as one of the country's most violent, will lay off its entire force of 270 cops and instead rely on a reorganized county unit to patrol its streets, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The switch is expected to save millions for the financially burdened city near Philadelphia, but critics have slammed it as a backdoor attack on unions. The new Metro Division of the Camden County police won't have collective bargaining, according to Fox News.

Revamping local law enforcement comes as Camden is on pace to set an ignominious record for the most shootings and murders, NPR said.

Layoffs in the city department start this month and less than half can expect to get a job with the county., Fox reported. The force would become defunct at the end of the year.

The financial woes engulfing Camden that forced it to slash its police department have been a stubborn symptom of the city's dysfunction. Last year, 167 officers got pink slips.

The diminished force was overburdened with major crimes that that they had to stop responding to minor car accidents, petty thefts and vandalism.

Wigglytuff
Aug 26th, 2012, 11:06 PM
In completely unrelated news

Camden woman decapitates son, kills herself

By Barbara Boyer and Darran Simon
Inquirer Staff Writers

Chevonne Thomas, who killed her young son and then herself

A Camden mother who temporarily lost custody of her baby after a 2010 child-endangerment charge decapitated the boy and then committed suicide Wednesday, just months after getting her son back.

Chevonne Thomas, 34, placed the head of her 2-year-old son, Zahree, in the freezer and called 911, ranting incoherently before fatally thrusting a knife into her own neck about 12:30 a.m., authorities said.

In 2010, Thomas, a 1996 graduate of Northeast High School in Philadelphia, was arrested on an endangerment charge after she told police she was high on drugs, "blacked out," and could not remember where she left her baby, court records show.

The charge was dismissed in October 2011 after a witness recanted allegations that Thomas left Zahree alone in a car, Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said.

"This was a one-witness case, and consequently we could not indict," Faulk said.

The Prosecutor's Office closely reviewed how the 2010 charge was handled after the murder-suicide, he said.

"If those same facts were presented to us again, we would have done the same exact thing again," Faulk said, noting that authorities properly notified the state Department of Children and Families of the arrest.

The agency took Zahree away from Thomas after the arrest and put him in the care of his maternal grandmother, Faulk said.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Department of Children and Families said Zahree "had previously been residing with relatives while his mother sought court-ordered treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders."

Thomas regained custody in court in April.

"As with all child deaths due to suspected abuse or neglect, we will vigorously investigate the circumstances around the death of Zahree Thomas as well as his mother," the agency's statement said.

Officials confirmed that the agency had an open case and had been working with family members to support Thomas and her son.

The department has been under the supervision of a federal judge since 2003 as a result of high-profile lapses in case oversight.

On a rambling six-minute 911 recording obtained by several news media representatives, Thomas sounds incoherent and agitated. After telling a dispatcher that her boyfriend stabbed her son, she admits she stabbed him with a knife.

"You know what, I did it. I'm lying," she said, repeating the admission later in the tape.

When the dispatcher asks whether her son is bleeding, she answers: "He is, not much." She then says: "He's not bleeding anymore."

She tells another dispatcher that she didn't take her Prozac, "but I should have."

When police arrived at the Parkside rowhouse, in the 1400 block of Kaighns Avenue, they found the boy's torso in a first-floor room and Thomas barricaded in a second-floor bedroom. Authorities continued talking to Thomas on the phone but did not immediately force their way into the bedroom because they did not know whether she was armed.

After the brief phone negotiation, Thomas plunged the knife into her neck, causing an injury so severe that when police entered the room shortly afterward, she was dead. She had a stab wound to the chest as well, authorities said.

Evidence of drug use was found in the house, but it will be several weeks before blood test results are available, said Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office.

Faulk said that although Thomas admitted using drugs in 2010, there was not enough evidence to file drug charges then or substantiate child endangerment.

"The mother did not admit she abandoned the child," Faulk said. "If, in fact, she had left the child with a responsible adult, that does not constitute child endangerment."

On Nov. 28, 2010, Camden police found Thomas on the ground at 29th Street and Lincoln Avenue screaming incoherently, Laughlin said.

Thomas told authorities that she had been smoking marijuana and the hallucinogenic drug PCP in a nearby park when she "blacked out" and could not remember where she left her child, according to a complaint filed in Municipal Court.

As police were transporting Thomas to Cooper University Hospital, she yelled that she did not know where her baby was, Laughlin said. Police went to her address, then in the 1000 block of Lois Street. A neighbor was there with the boy.

Faulk said that in 2010, a neighbor told police she had found Zahree in a car but did not know where Thomas was. When investigators for the Prosecutor's Office tracked down the neighbor in October 2011 to present the case to a grand jury, the neighbor told investigators that police in 2010 got her story wrong. Thomas, she said then, asked her to care for the child while she ran an errand.

That's when prosecutors dismissed the charge for lack of evidence, Faulk said. His office has no record of contact with state child protection workers after Thomas lost custody of her son, he said.

Lynette Brown, who lives two houses away from the crime scene, said Chevonne Thomas moved in over the summer. "She would always sit on the steps and smoke," Brown said. "She would always have her baby on her lap."

Thelma Moore, who used to live in the neighborhood and was visiting Wednesday, said she had known Thomas for several years. She said the woman "just walked around and talked and cursed to herself." Thomas, Moore said, had been seeing a behavioral health therapist.

Another neighbor, Tayari Horcey, said Thomas appeared calm when she saw her sitting on her front steps by herself around 10:30 p.m.

"She just said good night," Horcey said.

Horcey added: "She could have cried out for help. I would have sure enough helped her."

Horcey said a woman, who appeared to be her late teens to early 20s and identified herself as Thomas' daughter, showed up at the house around noon.

*

Contact Barbara Boyer at 856-779-3838 or bboyer@phillynews.com.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

ranfurly
Aug 26th, 2012, 11:34 PM
This is obviously at the hand of the republicans!!!!!

Wigglytuff
Aug 26th, 2012, 11:56 PM
In this case it is. The loss of public sector jobs nation wide is not only keeping unemployment rates needlessly high, but is costing cops their jobs and Americans their lives.

That's the thing about cutting taxes and government to the bone... It means you cut government to the bone, no police, no fire services, and crappy schools.

To that end the republicans in congress have blocked all state aid and stimulus help to states.

Wigglytuff
Aug 26th, 2012, 11:57 PM
Camden is a Democratic stronghold, voting overwhelmingly Democratic in national, state, and local elections.

Right because every town in America is in a vacuum unaffected by national and state politics. Riiiiiiight.

Wigglytuff
Aug 27th, 2012, 12:16 AM
Increasing taxes causes businesses to flee.

that's nonsense.

No business is going to leave a profitable business because taxes might increase by a small fraction.

If they did and they were a public company, they would face lawsuits.

Businesses are made and broken by consumer demand. And what's going to happen to demand for private sector services if there is a major round of lay off? What's going to happen to business if there is no security that the public service will be unable to prevent or address crime.

Fun fact, oil companies in the middle east pay 70-90% percent in taxes on profits from their oil mining. :) and as long as the oil is there the oil companies will be right there. How much do oil companies pay America for drilling in the gulf of Mexico? $0

Yep, and they pay that 70-90% every year. And will continue to do so, because they make an insane amount out money regardless.

Wigglytuff
Aug 27th, 2012, 12:19 AM
Of course Camden has more problems than just a shortage of police. But cutting police won't help. It might just destroy Camden beyond repair for at least a generation.

ranfurly
Aug 27th, 2012, 01:45 AM
Right because every town in America is in a vacuum unaffected by national and state politics. Riiiiiiight.

Mennonite communities would be!

PhilePhile
Aug 27th, 2012, 06:39 AM
Of course Camden has more problems than just a shortage of police. But cutting police won't help. It might just destroy Camden beyond repair for at least a generation.

This city of about 77,000 (up until last year) was employing 437 officers! Just for comparison, the City of St. Albert (61,000) in Alberta has 47 (http://www.stalbert.ca/rcmp) officers.

ptkten
Aug 27th, 2012, 02:07 PM
These are the types of cities where it's impossible to know what to do. I've been to Camden several times to go the waterfront and it really is depressing as soon as you get two blocks in from the river. There's not much semblance of community left and once that's gone, there's not much people can do to save it. Even in cities like Detroit you have corporations investing in certain neighborhoods so there's some chance for a revival. In Camden, there really isn't anything besides the University and some of the stuff on the waterfront. Obviously cutting police officers isn't going to help but something drastic needs to be done because simple crime cutting measures will not work in a city like this that is so deep under the water.

Rolling-Thunder
Aug 27th, 2012, 04:33 PM
In this case it is. The loss of public sector jobs nation wide is not only keeping unemployment rates needlessly high, but is costing cops their jobs and Americans their lives.

That's the thing about cutting taxes and government to the bone... It means you cut government to the bone, no police, no fire services, and crappy schools.

To that end the republicans in congress have blocked all state aid and stimulus help to states.

If there are no jobs, i.e. tax paying people, because there are no businesses, then there can be little in the way of funds to pay for police and fire protection. Its stupid to think that its the loss of public sector jobs that is the problem.

The problem is a lack of small businesses, which generate the vast majority of jobs in America. Large corporations get bail outs, tax breaks and government assistance on the local, state anf federal level due to their lobbyists. But its a vicious cycle. Lobbyists get government funds, and those funds in turn can be used to gain more government assistance. And on and on.

The biggest payoff would be to encourage and strengthen small businesses and entrepreneurs. That is NEVER talked about and NOTHING is ever done in that regard. Governments do not create jobs. They can create an environment conducive to employment growth. Yes public sector jobs are created, but they are not equal to nor a substitute for the private sector.

Rolling-Thunder
Aug 27th, 2012, 04:41 PM
Its a vicious environment. The lack of jobs create a fertile ground for crime and violence. But because there is such a high level of crime and violence which feeds on itself, its hard if not impossible to attract investments and job creators.

But one unspoken fact if the high level of violence intra-racially, that is seldom discussed. For all the Trayvon Martin cases (as tragic as that was), there are hundreds of cases of black on black crimes involving young black men. Until that fact is faced and honestly confronted life in places like Camden or Newark or Detroit or Gary etc will be a living hell hole.

Rolling-Thunder
Aug 27th, 2012, 05:05 PM
Perhaps if the USA would stop spending over $1 trillion a year on its military, yes that figure is correct if you add the Pentagon budget, CIA and the 15 other intelligence agencies, DARPA, nuclear weapons programs, DHS etc. Why can't people get concerned enough to demand that money be appropriated domestically to rebuild cities and basic infrastructure?

For the 130,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, it costs $1 million a year for each. How much does that come to and how many jobs would that amount create just per soldier? Yet people will election after election support candidates who do not advocate for them. Obama is a case in point. Frankly both parties are horrible and beholden to the same financial interests. But for people to support someone like Obama, who is GW Bush III, and honestly think he is different, they are clearly unwilling to look at his record and are fixated on his rhetoric.

But hey that's freedom and democracy, right? The people living in places like Camden, have been betrayed and let down by the very people they have been supporting for decades. Yet they keep voting for them. Honestly the same could be said about the working class living in places like Kansas or Indiana. The people they vote for, also have put in place policies against the working class' interest, but the difference is that there is some cultural identification with their betrayers. Both groups in Camden or Kansas have been betrayed. Its all a functional difference. Yet all the while people will go on blaming the other side or party for their dismal state.

"What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America," by Thomas Frank might be a good place to start.

HippityHop
Aug 27th, 2012, 10:36 PM
Perhaps if the USA would stop spending over $1 trillion a year on its military, yes that figure is correct if you add the Pentagon budget, CIA and the 15 other intelligence agencies, DARPA, nuclear weapons programs, DHS etc. Why can't people get concerned enough to demand that money be appropriated domestically to rebuild cities and basic infrastructure?

For the 130,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, it costs $1 million a year for each. How much does that come to and how many jobs would that amount create just per soldier? Yet people will election after election support candidates who do not advocate for them. Obama is a case in point. Frankly both parties are horrible and beholden to the same financial interests. But for people to support someone like Obama who is GW Bush III and honestly think he is different, they are clearly unwilling to look that his record and are fixated on his rhetoric.

But hey that's freedom and democracy, right? The people living in places like Camden, have been betrayed and let down by the very people they have been supporting for decades. Yet they keep voting for them. Honestly the same could be said about the working class living in places like Kansas or Indiana. The people they vote for also have put in places policies against the working class' interest, but the difference is the cultural identification with their betrayers. Both groups have been betrayed it all a functional difference. Yet all the while people will go on blaming the other side for their dismal state.

"What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America," by Thomas Frank might be a good place to start.

You are correct that the US spend way too much on defense. We are in far too many places where we should not be. It's time to let our allies shoulder a lot more of the burden of joint defense.

On another note, if the sequestration happens (which seems likely) there will be big defense cuts.

But as always there is a devil in the details of defense cuts. Many of the people working in the defense industry are private citizens. Big cuts mean big layoffs. In fact one of the politically charged time bombs coming up is the fact that these industries have to give employees 60-90 day notice of possible layoffs. That means notices going out as early as the beginning of October.

One of the reasons that Congress established the B.R.A.C (base reorganization and closing) committee is that they don't want to take the political heat of voting to close military bases because those bases often generate a lot of income for the communities where they are located.

Everybody hates the military until their bases are closed and set off the domino effect that often follows those closings. It's not just the people who work on the bases who lose jobs.

Wigglytuff
Aug 27th, 2012, 11:18 PM
Perhaps if the USA would stop spending over $1 trillion a year on its military, yes that figure is correct if you add the Pentagon budget, CIA and the 15 other intelligence agencies, DARPA, nuclear weapons programs, DHS etc. Why can't people get concerned enough to demand that money be appropriated domestically to rebuild cities and basic infrastructure?

For the 130,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, it costs $1 million a year for each. How much does that come to and how many jobs would that amount create just per soldier? Yet people will election after election support candidates who do not advocate for them. Obama is a case in point. Frankly both parties are horrible and beholden to the same financial interests. But for people to support someone like Obama who is GW Bush III and honestly think he is different, they are clearly unwilling to look that his record and are fixated on his rhetoric.

But hey that's freedom and democracy, right? The people living in places like Camden, have been betrayed and let down by the very people they have been supporting for decades. Yet they keep voting for them. Honestly the same could be said about the working class living in places like Kansas or Indiana. The people they vote for also have put in places policies against the working class' interest, but the difference is the cultural identification with their betrayers. Both groups have been betrayed it all a functional difference. Yet all the while people will go on blaming the other side for their dismal state.

"What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America," by Thomas Frank might be a good place to start.
Hey I agree we spend waaaaaaaaay too much on defense. To the point that soon there won't be anything TO defend.

Rolling-Thunder
Aug 28th, 2012, 12:24 AM
An excellent new book that came out in June actually has a chapter on Camden: Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges.

Here also an interesting podcast also about the book: http://www.peterbcollins.com/2012/07/18/journalistactivist-chris-hedges-returns-to-talk-about-his-challenge-to-obama-detention-law-and-his-powerful-new-book/

They profile 4 of America’s “sacrifice zones”, areas that have the highest rates of poverty and social pathology in the country. We talk about Camden, New Jersey, where poverty profiteers who don’t even live there run the show; the Oglala Sioux reservation at Pine Ridge, S.D. where desperate Native Americans live in deep poverty; the ravages of mountain top mining in West Virginia, and the modern slavery imposed on Florida farmworkers. Hedges ties these communities to Occupy Wall Street and the battle against corporate power. I highly recommend the book, part of which is excerpted at Truthdig.com, where Hedges is a featured columnist.

Rolling-Thunder
Aug 28th, 2012, 12:37 AM
Hey I agree we spend waaaaaaaaay too much on defense. To the point that soon there won't be anything TO defend.

When you are spending more than $1 trillion dollars, have more than 1000-1200 military bases in over 100 countries, and have been at war or involved in some external conflict continuously since the end of WWII, that hardly qualifies as defense spending. Its military spending for an offensive presence in every part of the globe. While the Pentagon changed the title to Dept of Defense from Dept of War after WWII, the semantics only serve to hide the reality. And as long as people are willfully ignorant of the power and domination of the Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex over the direction of US foreign and domestic policies, they continue to believe that spending cuts pose some dubious risk. The supposed cuts are not even real cuts. They are cuts to the GROWTH of spending under both parties.

Cut the military budget and either cut taxes for the working and middle classes or use the money for infrastructure projects that will have a multiplier effect on the return on investment. The money appropriated in the "defense sector" have been better utilized in the private sector or returned to the people. Why did the American people never get their Peace Dividend after the Cold War? The USA spent over $17 trillion dollars during the Cold War. Now add the war (on) of terror and you have trillions more. Is there not some direct relationship between these facts, coupled with the failed trade and industrial policies of the past 30 years?

If you are spending an amount which is equal to the combined military budgets of the rest of the world, that's not defense spending and it poses a grave and imminent threat to the nation and the world.

*JR*
Aug 28th, 2012, 12:45 AM
Don't blame Mayor Dana Redd (http://www.ci.camden.nj.us/city/mayor_bio.html), she's tried like hell in her year and a half on the job. :( I guess a combination of the Camden County Sheriff's Office and the NJ State Police will patrol her city. NJ is afflicted with some of the worst provincialism among towns (and small cities) in the country, with the renowned Cory Booker (Guv Chris Christie's most likely 2013 opponent) having some of the same problems in Newark.

I agree re. the $$$ pissed away on the bloated military, BTW. (Which Obama has let go on as usual). :shrug: