As reported by nj.com, members of the Camden Fraternal Order of Police opted to postpone until next week a vote on an offer issued by the County Freeholders that would allow all current Camden police officers to be considered for the planned countywide police force.
FOP President John Williamson stated the union vote next week will be a ballot vote. “[The officers] want clarity on a lot of issues,” he said following the meeting, in which nearly 200 voting members of the FOP had gathered at the union’s headquarters on Federal Street. “They are still unclear about a lot of things.”
The offer from the County 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 police force. The offer, presented in writing to the Camden Fraternal Order of Police chapter on January 15, 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.
The FOP has until January 31 to decide whether to agree to the offer.
Camden County freeholders approved the first three hires to the new countywide police department on January 18, transferring a trip of superior officers from the current city police force. According to officials, the first members of the regional police force will be responsible for training new officers, assisting in employee background checks and serve in a supervisor role within the department.