(CAMDEN) – Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) is seeking to increase penalties for those who issue false police reports. The announcement comes after an area woman provided police with phony information in the case of a series of sexual assaults that have put the residents of Camden City on edge. More than two dozen city police officers and detectives, along with Prosecutor’s Office detectives, State Troopers, city and Sheriff’s Office K-9 units, a victim witness advocate and a sexual assault nurse were dispatched immediately. Law enforcement officials launched a five to six hour investigation which cost the public hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“This is a waste of precious police resources, manpower and dollars when we can least afford them,” said Senator Norcross.

The Prosecutor’s office issued the woman a summons, the highest penalty allowed by law. Senator Norcross will introduce legislation to change that law, tying the severity of charges to the severity of the crime being misreported.

In yesterday’s press conference, Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk stated that he would have charged the woman with a harsher penalty if it were in his power. Camden City Police Chief Scott Thomson also expressed frustration with the disruption of the investigation and the delay it caused.

“The fact is that the investigation was derailed by this individual – wasting time, effort and money,” said Chief Thomson.

“We need to hold people accountable for their actions and make sure that the punishment fits the crime,” added Senator Norcross. “It is unacceptable for anyone to endanger their entire community by abusing these valuable public resources.”

Senator Norcross is the Chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee, which will have jurisdiction over the bill.