WOODLYNNE (CBS) – At the stroke of midnight, October 3rd Woodlynne Borough will take back its streets, the 0.2 square mile Camden County Borough is re-instating the police department it abolished four years ago.
Complete with a new electronic fingerprinting system and security cameras, their old headquarters are being made new again.
“This is where they will come in for the mug shot here, and get pictures taken” said Mayor Jeraldo Fuentes who gave Eyewitness News an inside look at the new headquarters.
In all, 12 officers, all patrolman, all at equal pay will be sworn in this week.
Uniforms, badges and weapons have been issued.
Desks, chairs, flat screen computers and printers were donated to the department by a local bank branch that closed and three new cruisers, paid for by bond money, are being decaled, and will soon be delivered.
“I can sum it up in a few words: it’s been a huge challenge… We did get a Department of Justice grant to be used for bulletproof vests total, $4,000” said Woodlynne’s Director of Public Safety Edwin Figuroa.
Patrolman and father of two, Walter Schilling, has his own vest.
He was laid off from Winslow Police in July.
“I feel lucky to have this opportunity to be working again,” said Schilling. “I’ve definitely taken a pay cut-but my concern was being able to stay in the pension system and have health benefits.”
Schilling says three months without work has felt more like three years.
Today he’s riding with Collingswood Police to learn the borough’s borders and trouble spots.
As part of the reconstruction of the police force, Collingswood will end its four year contract to patrol Woodlynne.
Officers will start at a lower salary, but be offered more opportunity. Schilling will head the Megan’s Law Offender Registry.
“Every one is equal here, so we have the same opportunity to make sergeant, lieutenant and maybe even chief one day,” said 22 year old Patrolman Kevin Sloan who lost his Hi-Nella police job of three years.
Sloan is anxious to conquer crime in Woodlynne, “We have a lot come over from Camden, drugs and weapons.”
“We needed that, they were great when here before they kept the streets clear at night, Collingswood did good but we need our own,” said Lana Williams, a local resident of eight years is happy to have the new officers sworn in and hit the streets.
10 officers will be sworn in Thursday night and two additional officers graduate the Police Academy this November.
Woodlynne officials say it will be a seamless crime fighting transition.
Story Contributor: CBS 3 Reporter Cydney Long