In a break with the past, Camden, N.J. is naming an outsider to lead its beleaguered police department, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is Robert L. Stewart, a former chief of police of Ormond Beach, Fl., and a police captain in Washington, D.C. The Camden force traditionally has been led by a uniformed chief who rose through the ranks and passed a civil-service test. Current chief Edwin Figueroa will retire Feb. 1. The department has been under the supervision of the prosecutor’s office for seven years after a state audit found widespread mismanagement.
Stewart served in the District of Columbia Police Department for 22 years before retiring as a captain in 1991. He later was executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), based in Alexandria, Va. Camden, with a population of about 80,000 and about 175 drug corners, and has been named America’s most dangerous city for two years by Morgan Quitno, a publisher of reference books. Atlanta Police Chief Richard J. Pennington, who has known Stewart for decades, called him “very productive, creative, and innovative in addressing challenges.”