The Camden County Police Department's long-serving police chief will be retiring at the end of August, the county announced Friday.
Chief Scott Thomson will depart after 25 years of working with the city and county. Beginning his career as a police officer in Avalon, New Jersey, in 1992, Thomson climbed the ranks and became City of Camden Police chief in 2008 and Camden County Police chief in 2013, leading the department through its transition from city to county control.
"The opportunity to serve the community alongside some of the noblest public servants in our vocation has been an extraordinary honor, one which truly humbles me," the chief said in a statement. "I could not be prouder of the tremendous work, risks taken and sacrifices made by my officers and their families every single day."
Crime rates in Camden fell every year since the beginning of Thomson's tenure as county police chief. He "changed the culture of law enforcement in Camden" and was named in the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing on several occasions, county spokesman Dan Keashen said.
Thomson was elected president of the Police Executive Research Forum and led the international organization of more than 3,000 police executives for four years, "addressing the most challenging community and safety issues in the country," Keashen said.
Police Executive Research Forum Executive Director Chuck Wexler praised the chief's work in a statement.
"Today, Camden is a different place than it was 10 years ago," Wexler said. "Scott's success was constructed through his laser like focus on building trust, engaging the community and having a real dialogue with residents. He proved that Camden could be a different place and didn't have to be a violent city."
Thomson plans to continue to work with Camden nonprofits once he retires.
"I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life in hopes of continuing to be of service to others and the community, it's in my DNA," he said.