Within seconds of a recent drug arrest, a Camden, N.J., street was flooded with officers from the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, and the New Jersey State Police, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. The ongoing weekend raids, known as Operation Eagle Eye, were staged from a new crime-fighting command base at L3 Communications, a highly secure defense firm near the Camden waterfront.
In the spring, Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson used $250,000 in drug forfeiture money to lease 15,000 square feet in the building, with the hope of strengthening coordination among the many law enforcement agencies policing this deadly city. With the money, Thomson wanted to create a unified “base camp.” Said Thomson: “The biggest fallacy out there is that law enforcement communicates well with each other. We all say we do, but we can’t unless you have a structure like this in place.” Since the summer, a dozen federal, state, county, and city agencies have reassigned about a hundred frontline violent-crime investigators, drug task forces, senior assistant prosecutors, and other resources to L3, transforming the recently empty office space into the city’s nerve center in the fight against crime. “This is my Alamo,” Thomson said.