As reported by nj.com, seven municipalities in Camden County have made a request for proposals looking into the possibility of consolidating the management of their respective police departments. The municipalities, Audubon, Collingswood, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township, Mount Ephraim, and Oaklyn, all independently authorized the RFPs, stating they are open to the idea of saving money by merging the administrative levels of their various police forces. Each town would keep its own force of police officers.
“All of the municipalities have pretty similar characteristics, and whether it’s with public works or construction officials, we’re seeing where we can save money through shared services,” said Audubon administrator Dave Taraschi, adding that officials from the seven communities have monthly meetings under the name Colonial Alliance. “This is not unique to police.”
According to Taraschi, the proposals are due to the municipalities by August 16. “We know it’s the wave of the future, so we’re just looking into consolidation,” he added. Taraschi also said the Colonial Alliance considered a number of alternatives before opting to study the possibility of merging among themselves.
Last spring, the newly created Camden County Police Department began patrolling the streets of the city of Camden. As the department’s name suggests, other municipalities could, in the future, sign on to the force.
Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli, who in February said he had previously been approached by elected officials in various municipalities who are potentially interested in signing on to the county force, said he’s encouraged by the discussion. “We’ve said all along that it would be up to each municipality to voluntarily sign up,” Cappelli said when asked if he would rather the seven municipalities join the county police department. “I’m just happy that they’re talking.”
According to Cappelli, the county force, which this summer took over sole responsibility for policing Camden, will reach its goal of 401 officers in December. “We have 104 officers entering the academy, and when they graduate in December we’ll be up to 401,” he said.