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Police reform? Here's what happened in another department

While some are calling for police to be defunded, Camden, New Jersey took an interesting approach.

ATLANTA — The country's focus is on Atlanta this weekend with the deadly police shooting at Wendy's reigniting calls for police reform.

So, 11Alive looked at what solutions worked for another city to cut crime nearly in half while improving community relations.

A call for police reform continued on Saturday in the hours after 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks' death. Brooks was shot and killed following a struggle with two Atlanta officers in a Wendy's parking lot in southwest Atlanta.

In a press conference Saturday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the city police chief's resignation as well as a new look into the city's use of force.

"We have already convened an advisory committee to examine our use of force policies in our city and expect feedback within the next two weeks with final recommendations within the next 45 days," she said.

Searching for solutions amid calls to defund the police and reallocate police funding, others also suggesting a different approach - community-oriented policing.

It's something that has been done in Camden, New Jersey for seven years. Since 2013, the department says it has seen a 40 percent drop in violent crime.

The Camden Police Department also adopted an 18-page use-of-force policy - the one used by Atlanta Police is eight pages.

Camden's policy puts de-escalation first. Only under certain circumstances can deadly force be used - and just as a last resort. 

According to Bloomberg, the changes came to Camden when the department wanted to put "more officers on patrol" but couldn't afford to hire more because of union contracts.

So, in 2013, the mayor and the city council dissolved the local police department and signed an agreement for the county to provide shared services. 


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