Camden County released a draft white paper Tuesday on its proposal to regionalize local police forces.
The seven-page white paper pulls together discussions that have gone on for months about what a countywide police department would look like and how it would work for local municipalities.
“We look at it as an update for citizens and the media,” Joyce Gabriel, director of public affairs for the county government, said. “It’s an update on where we are.”
Reports from subcommittees looking at the proposal are expected July 1. The subcommittee are:
• Governance—looking at the structure of how towns would join the regional force and how the department would be managed
• Operations and facilities
• Criminal justice implications
• Special services—including services such as SWAT, K-9, detective bureau, etc.
• Collective bargaining
After the subcommittees submit their reports, the county will look to establish a timeline to make final determinations on the proposal.
The white paper and an accompanying FAQ lay out the case for the countywide service, which would require towns to dissolve their police departments, lay off all staff and prioritize rehires from the current force.
In exchange, the white paper lists several benefits, including sharing administrative costs, reigning in “unsustainable increases” in compensation and reducing redundancies. According to the white paper, towns can maintain their local identity with a regionalized force.
It would be voluntary for municipalities to join the force, and not every town is convinced. Haddonfield, for example, has . Mayor Tish Colombi earlier told Haddonfield Patch that the borough has money-saving shared-services agreements for things like the fire department.
Other towns have expressed some interest. Collingswood Mayor James Maley has said the borough is open to exploring regionalization. A previous arrangement to share police services between Collingswood and Woodlynne failed several years ago.
Click on the PDF documents, above, to view the white paper and FAQ.