Fewer Snouts in the Trough, Less Crime in the Streets
by William Norman Grigg
“What happens when you lay off nearly half of the police in one of the most dangerous cities in America?” begins a recent account of personnel cutbacks by the municipal government of Camden, New Jersey.
My guess would be this: The crime rate – as experienced by the affected public, rather than measured by the local government – will go down, and the public appetite will be whetted for further personnel cuts. This is because the Camden Police Department – which recently laid off 167 of its 360 officers – has long been a major source of crime, rather than a deterrent to the same.
New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in the soyuz, but it is also afflicted with a large and immensely powerful population of unionized tax feeders.
On January 19, a New Jersey Superior Court Judge refused to grant an injunction sought by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to reinstate the 167 officers who were laid off by Camden. On the same day, the union rejected a proposed compromise that would have reinstated 100 officers to the force. The deal would involve three days a month of unpaid furloughs for patrol officers for six months, followed by one unpaid monthly furlough day for the following year.
This arrangement would amount to a modest pay cut, but it shattered against the FOP’s impregnable sense of privilege. As commentator George Berkin pointed out, the union had erroneously assumed that it could “get a court to trump economics” – or, at least, that it could browbeat Camden City Hall into devising some way to extract wealth from the productive on its behalf. The police unions have become accustomed to getting whatever they want. For example: In New Jersey, it’s become standard practice for police to use their tax-funded health plans to pay for illegal steroid treatments.