Community Policing Topic of Conversation Between Local Police Chief and House Speaker

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Community policing has become a focus for law enforcement all across South Jersey, including Camden County where policing in Camden caught federal attention.

Earlier this week, House Speaker Paul Ryan met with the Police Executive Research Forum, or PERF,  which included leading law enforcement personnel from all across the country along with Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson. The meeting focused on topics that Camden is all too familiar with and the goal is to use the city's policing as an example for the rest of the country.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Police Executive Research Forum? Executive Director Chuck Wexler listen to Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson discuss community policing at a recent PERF Conference held in Wisconsin. Photo Courtesy of the Camden County Police Department.

“If your police force is properly using force out on the streets and you’re doing so in a just and equitable manner, it’s going to give you a better relationship with the community, and that’s something that we’ve been really focusing in and building the trust...” said Chief Thomson. ...part of the conversation with Speaker Ryan, was really, and how to develop this, and that’s what we’re seeing in a lot of troubled communities across this country.” 

According to the police chief, one of the “hot button” issues that was brought up at Monday's meeting in Ryan's home state of Wisconsin was de-escalation training, something that Camden happened to be a pilot program for. Specifically, how local officers calm down a situation involving people armed with no firearm, but instead a knife or blunt object.

Just because we can use our weapon doesn’t always mean that we should use our weapon. And by us doing what we have done, it’s resulted in a better outcome for the officers and the people that we’ve been dealing with,” said Chief Thomson.

As the PERF plans to continue meeting with law enforcement officials from across the globe to improve policies and procedures, locally Chief Thomson said they will continue to work on bonding within their community.

It’s nice when you have the President and the Speaker and the Attorney General saying nice things about your organization, but really what matters most are the people that we’re dealing with every day and we’ve been able to make progress with that," Chief Thomson.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held a Police Executive Research Forum conference on community policing in his home state of Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of the Camden County Police Department.

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