(CAMDEN, N.J.) -- About half the police force and a third of the firefighters in Camden, New Jersey are losing their jobs. It's one of the nation's most crime-ridden cities, but because of a huge budget deficit and cuts in state aid, the city government has started to make deep job cuts, laying off up to a quarter of the city government's payroll.
"We don't know what'll happen. But we do know that our people are fearful of what will happen because experience says, it won't be good", according to Father Martin Gutwein of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
Assante Wilson is a seven-year veteran with the Camden Fire Department and says "Being a fireman was something I wanted to do since I was a little kid, so this is part of, like I said, part of your dream being taken away from you."
Police union president John Williamson says there've been no direct talks that could prevent the layoffs in his department -- and he doesn't like it. "It's a sickening feeling in the, in the pit of my stomach."
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio