Camden's Turn | Not in Our Town

Camden's Turn



A documentary presented by Not In Our Town and the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office


About the Film

Camden’s Turn is a documentary about a police department and a community in the process 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 bridge the divide by building relationships with the community he and his department serve. The film follows Chief Thomson, and his command staff and officers as they work to implement community policing reforms in Camden County. After experiencing years of economic devastation and dramatically high crime rates, the city of Camden, NJ saw its police department dismantled in 2012 and replaced with a county-wide force. After the entire police force was laid off, Chief Thomson rebuilt the department and instituted a culture of community policing. 

The culture of community policing instituted in Camden includes incorporating de-escalation training, engaging officers in sports, school programs and community events, putting officers on bikes in neighborhoods and parks, and getting officers out of patrol cars and walking the beat. This film looks at the challenges the new agency faces as it works to build trust with the community, address bias, create new partnerships, and ultimately shift from a “warrior” mentality to that of a “guardian” and community builder. 

Running Time - 28:26

Additional Resources for Law Enforcement

Case Studies: Coffee With a Cop


Additional Resources for Communities and Schools


Law Enforcement Survey


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