Pubdate: Thu, 30 May 2002
Source: Inquirer (PA)
Copyright: 2002 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc
Author: Dwight Ott


Federal, State And Local Police Fanned Out In A High-Visibility Patrol. It 
Also Marked The County Prosecutor's Farewell.

CAMDEN - It was Camden's version of Operation Safe Streets.

And it was also a last hurrah for Camden County Prosecutor Lee A. Solomon, 
who will leave office next week to join the U.S. Attorney's Office, and who 
had helped to organize many such operations before.

Almost 250 state, federal and local police massed along the Camden's 
waterfront yesterday in the first "high visibility patrol" involving state 
police since Gov. McGreevey assigned 100 troopers to the city last month.

The operation was aimed at shutting down Camden's more than 100 drug 
corners, targeting street prostitutes and such nuisance offenses as public 
drinking and parking violations, and supporting the community with its 

"This is going to be a home run for Camden," said Capt. William Higgins, 
commander of the state police assigned to the city. "The point is that we 
are fully operational... . Our radios are deployed, and for the first time 
we have the availability to talk to Camden police on their frequency. We 
hope to do this at least once a month."

The troopers' presence was part of McGreevey's pledge at a town meeting to 
aid Camden's recovery.

The force that gathered yesterday on the waterfront, against a backdrop of 
the Philadelphia skyline, included a Camden County Sheriff's Office 
helicopter, a mobile command bus, prowl cars, and heavily armed officers 
from state and local departments, the Sheriff's Office, and a joint federal 
and local drug task force.

"The message is that law enforcement is back, and we intend to give the 
city back to the residents," said Solomon, who gave a farewell address at 
the staging area and was escorted through the ranks by a bagpiper. The 
longtime county prosecutor will be a deputy U.S. attorney in charge of 
offices in Trenton and Camden.

"We will do this periodically from time to time, because there is more of 
the element of surprise," said Lt. Wendy Galloway, community liaison for 
state police in the city. She said the aim is to force drug dealers off the 
streets and disrupt their trade, putting a greater financial burden on 
their operations.

One of the troopers who fanned out into Camden's four police districts was 
Sgt. Louis Klock. For him, it was deja vu as he threaded his patrol car 
through South Camden. He had been in the city in 1989 for Operation Triad, 
a special state, federal and local force put into effect after a spike in 
Camden's crime rate.

"We're trying to disrupt the open-air markets," he said. "We're finding it 
real easy to shut them down by saturating them with [police] cars."

This time, Klock said, there would be more community policing.

"This is a whole different approach," he said. "We're not just putting 
cuffs on... . We're interacting with the residents. We spend a lot of time 
just talking to residents."

As he watched the operation last night, Camden Police Capt. Joe Richardson 
commented, "This is what we need every night in Camden."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth