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March 22, 2015

Backlash over raise for Camden police chief

The Inquirer reports that Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson will be getting a big raise. The report says that Thomson, who became chief in May of 2013, will be getting $230,000 annually to stay on as chief for four years, which is a $66,800 bump from his previous salary of $163,200 annually. 

County spokesman Dan Keashan told the Inquirer that the raise is meant to retain "one of the sharpest law enforcement officials in the country." 

However not everyone believes Thomson deserves more money. According to, Darnell Hardwick, first vice president of the Camden County NAACP, called the raise "obscene," saying Thomson's track record doesn't merit a heftier payday: 

"Camden has been ranked either the number one or the number two most dangerous city in the country under Chief (Scott) Thomson's command. What has this chief done so significant to deserve such a significant raise? One of the main purposes of disbanding the Camden City police department was to save money. How does this outrageous pay raise save money?"

While Hardwick does not specify which list ranks Camden as one of the top two most dangerous cities in the country, the list many rely on for that measurement is the annual Neighborhood Scout rankings. Camden topped the list in 2015. But as Joel Mathis of Philly Mag noted earlier this year, that list used data from 2013. 

The data from 2014, cited by in the same article, shows that cases of murder, rape, and robbery have actually been declining steadily since 2012. 

Thomson has been touted by many for this success since Camden eliminated its local police force and implemented a department run by the county instead.