As reported by nj.com, the State Policemen’s Benevolent Association scoffed at Governor Chris Christie’s call for Mercer County to consider creating a regional police force like Camden County’s to quell violence in Trenton, saying what the city and police really need is money to hire more officers.
“The significant increase in violent crime in Trenton recently is a direct result of the layoff of more than 100 police officers,” P.B.A. President Anthony Wieners said in a statement. Christie said Wednesday that the regionalization of the police force in Camden has already created a “good trend” in crime reduction. With Trenton nearing a record number of homicides this year, the Governor called on Mercer County politicians to have the “political courage” to consider creating a regional force.
Critics have said the Camden County police plan is too new to consider a success and called it a union-busting effort. “There are no disputes between the city and the local PBA over a contract as there was between Camden and the FOP which led to the creation of a county police department,” said Wieners, referring to the Fraternal Order of Police union. “Abolishing the Camden Police Department was always about breaking the FOP contract and the deal only works if the State continues to pump tens of millions into the city of Camden.”
Wieners said that kind of money would be better spent on hiring more officers in Trenton, which saw two officers injured in a shooting last week and 30 homicides so far this year. “Our officers, two of whom were shot recently, come to work in danger every day while struggling in quiet dignity to serve the people of Trenton,” he said. “This situation calls for more cops, not political messages designed to perpetuate the myth that a union, particularly the State P.B.A., is somehow an impediment to a solution.”