As reported by nj.com, the Camden Police Union’s leadership is reviewing an offer from the County Freeholder Board that would allow the bargaining unit’s full membership to be considered for employment in the new regional police department as well as provide continuity of medical and pension benefits for officers making the switch from the city to the countywide force.
The offer, presented in writing to the Camden Fraternal Order of Police chapter on Tuesday, would also allow Camden police officers with 20 years experience, rather than the customary 25, to retire with full pension and medical benefits. In addition, the County would recognize the FOP as the bargaining unit of the new department. In exchange, the Camden FOP would agree to drop all pending or future litigation aimed at stopping both the elimination of the city police department and the establishment of a county police force. The union would also have to relinquish any attempt to transfer its existing collective bargaining agreement, as well as all existing rank and seniority, to the new police department, and agree not to seek interest arbitration for one year.
Camden County officials stated that their offer will remain “on the table” until January 31, 2013. “We’re now at the point where we’ll have a deal very shortly, or we will not have one,” said Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. in a telephone interview. “It’s now in the hands of the FOP.” Camden FOP President John Williamson stated he was still reviewing the offer, and will bring it to the full membership “as soon as possible.”
County officials have previously stated labor case law prevents them from hiring more than 49 percent of the current Camden police force to the new department under their current contract. Cappelli and other county officials stated the new agreement would allow for up to 100 percent of the city’s 265 police officers to the regional force.
A Camden County Metro Division of approximately 400 officers and 100 civilian employees will be tasked with policing the City of Camden, according to officials. Earlier this month, the New Jersey Civil Service Commission approved the city’s plan to lay off all uniformed personnel in the Camden Police Department. The layoffs have been tentatively scheduled to being on April 30.