The Camden County Police Department has led the way throughout the state of New Jersey over the last 10 years in utilizing technology as a force multiplier for the agency.
On Monday, the chief and the elected leadership accepted a new $8 million allocation from the state of New Jersey that will be utilized to upgrade and enhance existing key components of the department’s operating system.
Chief Gabriel Rodriguez talked about the importance of the systems and platforms being used in tandem with one another.
“Over the years, technologies like our eye in the sky system, license plate readers and Shotspotter have made us a smarter public safety agency,” Rodriguez said. “Like anything else that gets older, some digital systems become obsolete over time, and it is critical that we stay ahead of the curve and continue to improve upon our existing framework in our tactical center. This money from the state will allow us to do just that, so I want to thank and applaud our legislators for delivering this infusion of funds.”
Since the first days of the department’s operation, overall crime and violent crime have both been reduced to 50-year lows. At the end of last year, violent crime had been reduced by 44% and homicides had come down approximately 60% from the previous 10 years. Additionally, the city has seen a 62% decrease in shootings since 2012, the last full year of operation for the Camden City Police Department.
Talking about the different digital platforms, Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli Jr. continued to underscore the vital need for these technologies and what they mean to the mission of the department.
“Our tactical room is the nerve center of the department, so it’s without question that these funds are going to assist us in keeping our community safe,” Cappelli said. “It means we are going to be able to improve upon our existing tools that will ultimately give our officers a strategic advantage in the streets of the city. I want to thank our legislators for their advocacy and their willingness to secure these funds for our department.”
Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen discussed how the funds will allow Camden to continue being a model for policing to other communities.
“This is critical funding for valuable technology that will allow Chief Gabriel Rodriguez and his executive leadership to leverage the officers on the ground in Camden,” Carstarphen said. “The Camden County Police Department has successfully utilized advanced technology as another tool to help keep our community safe. What we are doing in Camden is working. Camden is a model for community policing, and we are experiencing the lowest crime rates in decades. We are grateful to our 5th District legislators who continue to fight for our residents and fight to support our public safety efforts.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, when gun crimes and shootings have stayed stubbornly high throughout nation, Camden city has only recorded 11 murders in 2023. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that gun-related homicides rose 35% throughout the nation. According to Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, 2020 was the largest year-over-year rise in gun murders in the modern era of statistical recordings, and 2021 data shows gun related deaths remain stubbornly high throughout the nation.
The Chairman of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee, Assemblyman William Spearman (D-Woodbury), talked about the funds going directly to making the streets of the city safer.
“First and foremost, I want to recognize the work, support and advocacy of my 5th Legislative District colleagues to secure $8 million to upgrade the technology platforms at the Camden County Police Department,” Spearman said. “These funds will be utilized to make the city safer for residents and businesses and this is another big win for team Camden.”
Assemblyman William Moen (D-Audubon) explained how the funds he helped secure will help the police department expand its ability to adequately serve the community.
“The funds that our District 5 team has helped to secure for the Camden County Police Department will go directly towards technology upgrades that are necessary to the department’s success,” Moen said. “These technology upgrades will be utilized to improve upon existing systems and tools to bring them up the efficiency level that our officers deserve. These enhanced systems and tools will allow our officers to serve our residents more accurately and safely in Camden City and its surrounding neighborhoods.”
Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Camden) discussed how keeping Camden residents safe is of utmost importance to local and state elected officials.
“Public safety for our Camden city residents is a top priority for our District 5 team,” Cruz-Perez said. “With the funding that we have helped secure, for necessary technology upgrades for the Camden County Police Department, we are making good on that promise to our constituents. These funds will help to make Camden city safer and make the work of our dedicated officers more accurate and efficient.”