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Policing Camden, N.J.
The murder capital of the country disbanded its police force. (Photos by David Kidd)
The Camden County Police Department’s expanded force aims to reverse years of violence.
“I don’t think there’s any chief who has seen the roller-coaster ride we have in the last 36 months,” says Chief J. Scott Thomson.
Inside the department’s tactical intelligence Center, analysts monitor maps showing locations of calls, shots fired and police cruisers.
Many blocks throughout Camden are lined with vacant houses. Nearly 40 percent of the city’s adults live in poverty.
Police patrolling South Camden say all the litter makes it difficult to locate evidence.
The new police department conducts more traffic stops, a source of great frustration for some residents.
With more officers on the street, the department has placed a greater emphasis on community policing.
Pastor David King’s Community Baptist Church has been broken into on multiple occasions.
Several of the Community Baptist Church’s windows have been hit by bullets over the years.
Reminders of killings are visible throughout much of the city. Some abandoned buildings serve as makeshift memorials for homicide victims.
Recruits attend a regional police academy and complete field training before joining the police department.
Policemen hold a “Meet Your Officers Night” as part of their community policing strategy.
Local activist Eulisis Delgado exhorts Camden residents to take back their city from drug dealers.
Colandus "Kelly" Francis, head of the Camden County NAACP, says the police department employs far too few minority officers and city residents.
In spite of the urban decay, some residents are hanging on.
Blight remains prevalent throughout much of Camden. The city is dotted with structures torn down but never cleared.
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