Camden, NJ Lays Off Police and Fire Force

January 18, 2011 Updated: January 18, 2011

Camden, NJ, for a number of years has been cited as one of the nation’s most violent cities and may get worse: the mayor said he will lay off half of police personnel and a third of fire department employees.

In all, 168 police officers, or 45 percent of the force and 67 firefighters will get laid off, according to CNN and other reports. The beleaguered city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia faces a $26.5 million budget deficit.

"The City of Camden does not have the option of maintaining the status quo," Mayor Dana Redd said, according to Reuters.

Redd said that she is looking to continue talks and negotiations with fire and police unions.

According to the FBI’s crime data, Camden in 2010 was the second most dangerous city in the nation, behind St. Louis.

"We're still going to protect our residents," Robert Corrales, a spokesperson for Redd told CNN.

Safety for the public "will remain our top concern. We'll shift our resources to be more efficient with what we have,” he added.