The city of Camden, New Jersey is taking a different approach to police work. After firing all of their law enforcement officers, the city will be patrolled by a new county police force as well as many other new faces. These other people citizens will see on patrol are unarmed city volunteers, police aides, who are tasked with the job of assisting with some police work.
According to PoliceOne, “Dozens of unarmed, uniformed civilians—without arrest powers—will be trained to collect evidence at crime scenes, respond to radio calls for nonviolent crimes, and relieve officers so they can complete reports once a scene is safe. In some cases, a civilian police aide may be the only person in uniform that victims will encounter.”
Joe Cordero said that one of the primary reasons for this move was to free-up police officers so they could better patrol the streets and still ensure the other aforementioned duties are still being taken care of. And while a police expert has given his endorsement of the policy, Camden residents aren’t 100 percent sold on the idea yet; their primary concern is the extent of training these civilian aides will take on.
Cordero, a former director in the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, said, “This agency is really at the forefront of the changing face of policing.”
The county has already started the process of hiring 69 civilian police aides along side 401 sworn police officers and will eventually expand its civilian force to between 100 and 115 workers. Due to the amount of civilian hires, the county is expected to save about $6.4 million annually.
What do you think about this type of police force? Is it a good idea to have the county police force working in tandem with citizen workers or could this make the process a little more confusing? Tell us what you think in the comments.