“Watching the gut-wrenching scenes from the mass shooting perpetrated at the Tree of Life Synagogue during a bris ceremony has sickened us. Individuals who gathered in the name of peace and community became targets – in what should have been a day of great family celebration and remembrance – and the event was quickly turned into a horrific tragedy of monumental proportions. Watching today’s events, and also just completing the sweep of U.S. Sen. Corey Booker’s Camden Office from failed terrorist attack yesterday, I want the public to know that our police officers and first responders are focused on keeping our community safe.
I wanted take this opportunity to let residents know that we have had an ongoing dialogue with law enforcement and clergy to protect our houses of worship and the citizens of Camden County. The Freeholder Board and row officers have been working with our law enforcement partners to ensure the public’s safety and that our community remains a place that embraces tolerance and diversity. The governing body and law enforcement have protocols and procedures in place so we can work in tandem to keep our neighborhoods safe and keep residents informed. Today, I’ve spoken with chief after chief and they have all reassured me that they are focused on their communities and will be strategically assessing their towns for additional patrols. In addition, I have asked all of our law enforcement partners to pay close attention to houses of worship and nonprofits with religious affiliations amongst our other sites throughout the county. In addition, we have been in contact with federal law enforcement that have been extremely helpful and stand ready to assist us if needed. Furthermore, our partnership with residents is extremely important and now is a good time to remind our community if they see something suspicious to say something to local law enforcement.
The rhetoric of hate, whether it comes from the White House, your corner tap room or Charlottesville, has opened the door for one fatal and horrific attack against peaceful individuals after another. That said, I believe it is time for the people of Camden County to come together in a unified voice with clergy to talk about this issue calling for peace and understanding instead of hate and prejudice. We need to stand up as a community and resist the bigotry that is continuing to undermine our nation and be clear that we stand against racism and divisions of all kinds. In short, we need to make a statement to the rest of the country that hate has no home here. We will be announcing a summit in the near future on the subject and looking forward sitting down with residents and maximizing participation.”