Camden, New Jersey, the deadliest place in America, is disbanding its entire police force and firing 270 cops in an effort to deal with a massive budget crunch.
The Camden Police Department will be replaced with a force run by the county, which supporters say will cost significantly less and allow more officers on the streets.
Some citizens worry, though that the new officers, many of them from the county police force, won’t be prepared for the tough, violent work of patrolling a dense urban city.
The police union says the force, which will not be unionized, is simply a union-busting move that is meant to get get out of union contracts.
No matter the political wrangling, the murder rate in Camden, a decaying city of 77,000, continues to skyrocket.
There have been 41 homicides in the city so far this year, including 13 in July alone. That puts Camden well on pace to break its record of 58 killings, set in 1995.
The murder rate in ten times higher than it is in New York City, 30 percent higher than New Orleans, the deadliest large city in the country, and three times higher than nearby Philadelphia.
The architects of the plan say they’ll be able to put 400 police officers on the streets of Camden — a dramatic improvement over the 270 who currently work the city, the Camden Courier Post reports.