CITY HALL EYEBALL: Can cities hire more police officers by busting police unions?

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The New York Times this weekend ran a front-page story on how Camden, N.J., is disbanding its police force to get rid of its union.

The reason? Generous time-off policies have made it so that about 30 percent of officers do not show up on any given day. And high salaries mean the city can't afford to hire the police officers it needs to combat crime. If the city's plan works, it will replace 273 unionized officers with as many as 400 non-union officers.

Spokane, which has about three times the size of Camden's population, currently has about the same amount of officers — roughly 275 — as the smaller city.

The New York Times story — read it here — cites poor response to property crimes as one of the reasons more officers are needed. Sound familiar?

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