Dear Lt. Gov. Oliver:
On November 12, 2019, the Camden City Council voted to approve Resolution #69 authorizing the city of Camden and the county of Camden to enter into a shared service agreement providing code enforcement oversight responsibilities to the Camden Metro Police Department.
This is an unprecedented policy decision by a local government unit in New Jersey. Whereas historically law enforcement has zero involvement in code enforcement or inspections. These roles and responsibilities typically fall under housing, planning or even engineering – but never law enforcement.
What’s more, the residents of the city of Camden have an uneasy relationship with the Camden Metro Police Department given the history of their formation and the lawsuit brought by our community challenging its very existence.
This issue is only compounded by the fact that code enforcement in our community has been used as a weapon to retaliate against businesses who have spoken out publicly against a certain municipal official or policy. By providing enforcement authority to law enforcement it will only sharpen that weapon, further widen the gap between community and police, and raise the level of anxiety and fear amongst residents.
Last, we firmly believe that the process by which this new policy was adopted was flawed, compromised and outright wrong.
On behalf of the residents of the city of Camden that signed the attached petition, attended last week’s meeting, and have spoken out on social media, we request that you invalidate Resolution #69 with (MOU) the authority provided to you by state statute and/or the Memorandum of Understanding between the city of Camden and the Division of Local Government Services.
Residents of the city of Camden