Shocking Layoffs In CrimePlagued City
Budget woes force Camden, New Jersey to drastically slash police and firefighter ranks.
Tuesday was the last day of work for hundreds of police and firemen in one of the nation's most crime-ridden cities.
The layoffs are the result of budget woes in Camden, New Jersey.
168 police officers - 40 percent of the police force, 67 firefighters - 33 percent of the city's fire department, and 100 other employees all lost their jobs.
The layoffs are due to the city's budget deficit of over $26 million.
Camden Mayor Dana Redd says that the cuts had to be made due to the city's budget crisis.
She also claims that Union leaders should have done more to compromise.
Union concessions would have saved 100 jobs.
"They occurred because police and fire departments decided to stay with the status quo," said Redd.
"Now I ask you, what have police and fire unions done to find meaningful solutions?"
"My last hope being a state delegate, was when we had set up a meeting with the mayor on Friday," said Pete Perez, a member of the Firefighter's Union. "The mayor did not attend that meeting."
Mayor Redd requested all four bargaining units of Camden's Fraternal Order of Police to cut $2 million.
The F.O.P. says it has conceded to the requests.
"We proposed for us to take two further days a month for six months," said the F.O.P. chief. "We also offered a wage freeze."
City officials aren't the only ones in the city unhappy with the layoffs however.
"It's not safe at all, especially for the kids," said Camden resident and mother of two, Esica Cruz.
"What if we have a break in and there's no police?" asked resident Louise Porcher. "We need the police."