The goal was to gather any law enforcement with a stake in Camden, put them in a room, and figure out how they could help the city's police department cope with impending layoffs.
The Camden County Board of Freeholders initiated the first meeting on Dec. 13, which included federal, state and county law enforcement agencies, including the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, Sheriff's Department and Park Police.
The Freeholders, who held a follow-up meeting in Camden yesterday, are also asking those same county agencies to cut 10 percent from their 2011 budgets, and some say they may have to deal with layoffs themselves.
"If we have our own layoffs, it makes our ability to respond and assist in Camden that much more difficult," said Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the county prosecutor's office.
Camden County officials said "all options are on the table" but did not mention layoffs in a statement issued yesterday. The county said it was looking for cost-saving measures from all unions.
"The county is looking at every option for balancing the budget in the most rational manner possible in a very tough budget year," administrator Ross Angilella said.
Laughlin said approximately 50 people could be laid off to make the $2.1 million budget cut the county is asking for. Approximately 45 percent of those cuts would come from the office's investigative staff, he said.
The prosecutor's office investigates and prosecutes indictable crimes, including murders, in all 37 municipalities in the county. Laughlin said the office's 62 assistant prosecutors handle up to 100 cases at any one time.
Camden County Sheriff Charles Billingham said that he also received a request for a 10 percent cut but that he is hoping it can be accomplished through attrition.
"We're all getting the same doom-and-gloom letter," he said. "I'm not ready to say I'm laying off, though.
Council 10 President Karl Walko, who represents non-uniformed county employees, said he fears the county will ask for even greater cuts.