TRENTON – The head of the state Police Benevolent Association – responding to comments Gov. Chris Christie made Wednesday about problems in Trenton – drew a distinction between what is happening in the capital city and what occurred previously in Camden.
Trenton – which has been beset by homicides and other violent crimes this year and witnessed the shootings of two of its officers recently – has lost more than 100 officers due to budget cuts and has a mayor under indictment who won’t resign, says PBA President Anthony Wieners.
Wieners was reacting to remarks by Christie who said during a press conference Wednesday that what is happening in Trenton is what used to occur in Camden.
Christie said that merely sending in state police to deal with a spike in crime – as some have called for in Trenton – is not a permanent solution because once the spike in crime subsides and the state police leave, the crime level rises again and the cycle repeats itself.
“If Trenton really wants to repair its public safety system,” Christie said, “look to Camden as a model.”
There is a countywide police force in Camden now, but Wieners said in a statement issued Thursday that the two cities’ situations are not comparable.
“Let’s be clear,’’ Wieners said. “Trenton is not Camden. There are no disputes between the city and the local PBA over a contract as there was between Camden and the FOP, which led to the creation of a county police department.”
Wieners said that abolishing the Camden police “was always about breaking the FOP contract,” and the deal will only work if the state continues to “pump tens of millions’’ into the city of Camden.
Wieners reiterated his call for more cops on the streets and for Mack to resign.
“This situation calls for more cops, not political messages to perpetuate the myth that a union, particularly the state PBA, is somehow an impediment to a solution,’’ he said.