U.S. News

New Jersey cities to lay off cops to battle deficit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The city of Camden, New Jersey, received approval on Tuesday to lay off 383 workers, including half of its police force, as it searches for ways to plug a $26.5 million hole in its budget, the city attorney said.

Camden, one of America’s poorest cities, was recently named the second most dangerous city in America by the CQ Press.

“We can’t have staffing levels beyond our ability to pay,” said Camden City Attorney Marc Riondino.

Riondino said the layoffs, which will likely take place in mid-January, include 180 of the city’s 376-member police force and 67 fire personnel.

Also on Tuesday, Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker ordered the layoff of 167 police officers, after the city’s police union rejected cost-saving measures.

Newark, which in recent years has tried to reverse its reputation as a haven for corruption and gangs, faces a $83 million budget deficit gap.

“Without union concessions, the city has no choice but to lay off 167 of our officers,” Booker said in a statement, adding the city is braving the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.

Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky