January 25, 2011

Camden needs to make cuts, but shouldn't start with police

Eileen Norcross

Senior Research Fellow

As Camden slashes their police force, we have to consider better options to close Camden’s  budget gap.

People realize it’s a desperate cut to make and residents would be right to ask their mayor and city council to go back to the board to find out what else can they do without in the budget and what they can ask nonprofits or the private sector to get involved in providing.

Why are police officers are the first to go in a city that is labeled the second most dangerous in the country?

Camden has a $ 138 million budget. There must be nonessential services they can find other ways to provide.  The police are probably the last thing I’d want to cut from Camden’s budget.

Rather than sacrificing safety, Camden would be better off to address fundamental cost drivers in the city, such as public pensions and education spending.

 States and local governments are underestimating how much they owe to public sector workers, and that means they’re not setting enough aside.  Getting that information out there so policy makers can make better budgetary choices is a good first step.