Camden's Turn: a story of police reform in progress
Camden’s Turn (28:00) is a story of transformation. As views of police and the communities they serve have become polarized across the country, Camden, NJ Police Chief Scott Thomson works to build relationships and calls on his officers “to shift from a warrior mentality to that of a guardian and community builder.” The film profiles Police Chief Scott Thomson, his command staff and officers as they works to implement community policing reforms. After the entire police force was laid off in 2012, Chief Thomson rebuilt the department and instituted a culture of community policing -- incorporating de-escalation training, engaging officers in sports, school book programs and community events, putting officers on bikes in neighborhoods and parks, and getting officers out of patrol cars and walking the beat. Camden's strategy was highlighted by President Obama’s national efforts to implement the recommendations outlined in the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. After years of mistrust, violent crime, high arrests rates and devastating poverty, things are starting to turn around in Camden. Crime is down, people feel safer, and jobs are coming back to the the city.