Last week, frustrated residents of Camden, New Jersey held a town hall to discuss issues of police reform. On the agenda was a conversation about so-called “community policing” that’s touted as part of the success story of turning around the Camden PD in recent years. Unfortunately for the organizers, there was an impression of the cops not being terribly “community-minded” because there were no representatives of the police department present. This elicited even more frustration from the organizers, who said that community policing does not exist in their city and it’s “not doing well.”
This isn’t a situation where the residents are complaining about the police being ineffective in reducing crime rates. The force in Camden has actually done a fairly admirable job compared to how things used to be. The activists instead seem more annoyed by the way the media is portraying the work of the Camden PD as some sort of model of success. They say that sort of “community policing” isn’t really happening and much of it is just business as usual. (CBS Philadelphia)
The City of Camden has emerged as a national case study on police reform. But frustrated residents say they are not being included in discussions on how to improve community policing.
Those who came out to Thursday night’s town hall event say they’re tired of the way the Camden County Police Department is being portrayed and it’s time to change the narrative.
Frustrated and feeling silenced — that’s why organizers of a Camden community town hall say they wanted to have an open dialogue about community policing.
“It took Camden residents to see so many different events that have happened in their city to know that community policing does not exist and it’s not doing well in the City of Camden,” organizers Ronsha Dickerson said.