In Camden, New Jersey
Yesterday and today I’m in Camden, New Jersey, working on a data task force for the Camden County Police Department. Yesterday we learned about how they currently run their systems and today we are hopefully going to address how they will do so in the future.
I got to see President Obama when he came here yesterday and talked about the Camden Police as a role model for the nation. The New York Times covered his visit as well and wasn’t so sure, given its record of accusations of excessive force by the police.
The way they collect those records and, to some extent, the way they respond to complaints are part of what I’m helping them think about, so I’ll know more soon, and I will be sure to write about it.
The Chief of Police, Scott Thomson, certainly says the right things. You can get to know him a bit through this interview, but I was struck yesterday by his emphasis on morality and community trust over the culture of an occupying force. Even so, Camden is a tough place, and not everything suddenly gets better even with a police force doing their best.
Another way of saying that is that, if we take the problems with the police away from a troubled city, you expose a whole pile of other problems.