Camden Policing

Russel Roberts likes the idea of “reimagining” the police but thinks it “is hard to achieve in reality.” He calls the reforms in Camden, New Jersey a “mixed bag.” Roberts is on board with “ending the drug war and weakening the ability of officers to harass and kill without consequences.” He points to a 2018 article by Sarah Holder on the Camden experience. She summarizes, “In 2013, the Camden Police Department was disbanded, reimagined, and born again as the Camden County Police Department, with more officers at lower pay—and a strategic shift toward ‘community policing.'” She quotes a great line from officer Tyrell Bagby via the New York Times: “The old police mantra was make it home safely. Now we’re being taught not only should we make it home safely, but so should the victim and the suspect.” I’m not seeing why this bag is “mixed.” Obviously lots of things other than policing affect a city’s crime rates. Many other policies need to be changed. But, just in terms of how police do their jobs, Camden strikes me as a win.

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