Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Camden Cop

One of the top drivers in the ATQMRA in the early 1960s was George Sweeten, shown here in his signature number 54. He raced at Teaneck, Pine Brook, Old Bridge, Wall Stadium and elsewhere in those years.

But despite being the club’s 1965 driver co-champion and winning one of the big indoor races in Atlantic City in 1966, he quit racing because his family perceived it as being too dangerous.

Sweeten then took up something hardly without risk: He became a cop in Camden. In case you are not familiar with the city of Camden, New Jersey, there are few places tougher for police work.

He joined the Camden Police Department in 1969. Already in his 30s when most police rookies were in their 20s, Sweeten was nicknamed "Pappy" by his fellow officers. He served Camden for 25 years before retiring in 1994, having risen to the rank of Detective.

George Sweeten passed away in December, 2007, at the age of 74.

Sweeten was remembered by a former police partner as "a good guy to work with, straight as an arrow so you didn't have to worry about him. He was an honest cop, an all-around good guy." Those who were around the ATQMRA when Sweeten was racing will also describe him as an all-around good guy. He conducted himself like a gentleman and was an easy fan favorite.

When George Sweeten set racing aside he was not without a hobby. He had worked as a sign painter and was an accomplished artist, painting landscapes and covered bridges. He was a devoted family man who left a widow, three daughters and five grandchildren at the time of his passing.