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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
In the last several years, Camden County, New Jersey has experienced a transformation as a result of community policing initiatives that have decreased its violent crime levels to their lowest since the early 1980’s. These community policing initiatives, implemented by Camden County Police Chief J. Scott Thomson, include strategies such as moving officers from patrol cars to walking a beat; bike patrols in neighborhoods and parks; and community engagement through school programs, sport events, and work in local community centers.
Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Rod Rosenstein, Associate Deputy Attorney General (ADAG) Steve Cook, and COPS Office Director Phil Keith met with Camden County Police Chief J. Scott Thomson and his Department last month to discuss the success of the Camden County Police Department and its collaborative partners. The June 5th meeting included a roundtable discussion with local, county and state executives, United States Congressman Don Norcross, representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the New Jersey Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Philadelphia Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Attorneys from New Jersey and Philadelphia, as well as state prosecutors. The city, county, state and federal partners work in collaboration to support the community and improve public safety as a shared goal.
DAG Rosenstein, ADAG Cook and Director Keith also toured the Real Time Tactical Operation Intelligence Center to learn more about the surveillance program successes and challenges. The center is used as a force multiplier to support law enforcement. In addition to data collection and analysis, the system includes a GPS system that dispatches the closest patrol unit during service calls and provides supporting information for the responding officers. Chief Thomson responded to initial civil liberty concerns with frank discussions and an ongoing policy of transparency that addresses questions from residents. DAG Rosenstein discussed the Intelligence Center during a roll call visit with Camden frontline officers, where he also expressed his appreciation for their work to increase public safety.
Guadalupe Family Services, a 2017 FBI Director's Community Leadership Award Recipient, also hosted the Department of Justice leaders for an afternoon tour and highlighted the collaboration between their nonprofit and the Camden County Police Department. For example, officers mentor school age students in the Community Adolescents Striving for Achievement (CASA) program, a resource open to Camden teens every day after school. In just the last few years, Camden schools have increased graduation rates and decreased dropout rates with programs such as CASA. Chief Thomson and his department continue to demonstrate community policing initiatives and collaboration to support the thriving Camden residents.
”Chief Thomson complements the law enforcement profession with his innovation and commitment to decreasing violent crime. His innovative community policing strategies, such as community engagement and use of surveillance system technology to support frontline officers have resulted in safer community that is thriving with new investment and employment opportunities,” said Director Phil Keith.
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