ROBERT E. ALLENBACH was the Chief of Police in Camden, New Jersey from 1998 through 2004. The crime rate plummeted during his tenure and the community, he was well respected in the community, but fell victim to the partisan politics that have crippled Camden for much of the past 30 years.
Robert E. Allenbach was born in Camden and raised on Sherman Avenue in the Cramer Hill section of Camden. He attended public schools in Camden, including Veterans Memorial Junior High School, a stone’s throw from his home on Sherman Avenue, and Woodrow Wilson High School where he was an All-State wrestler. After graduating from High School, Robert Allenbach attended Bemidji College in Minnesota on a wrestling scholarship before enlisting in the United States Navy.
After leaving the Navy, Robert Allenbach joined the Camden Police Department in 1974. His first assignment was as walking a beat in North Camden. He was in time reassigned to the patrol, narcotics and vice squads. He also was continuing his education throughout these times, eventually earning a Master’s Degree from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. Robert Allenbach also graduated from the FBI Academy in 1999.
Robert Allenbach was a very approachable Chief of Police, and was always out talking with the community, especially at the old Wawa convenience store located on Collings Avenue in Camden’s Fairview section. The Chief was such a regular their that the store named a sandwich after him. Still a “cop’s cop” even as Chief, stories are still told about him chasing down an armed suspect at the Wawa.
Not content to be a “yes man”, Chief Allenbach came into conflict with Camden’s political leadership. This led to a rather ugly parting, during which time according to news reports of the day the city government tried to force a resignation via threats to the Chief’s pension. Eventually things were ironed out, and Chief Allenbach retired in 2004.