Since his first day as police chief in 2009, Galloway Township Police Chief Patrick Moran has seen his department getting smaller and smaller.
Officers have been forced to take on multiple duties, and the department has had to keep pace with the crime in the township, making due with what it had, which was below the minimum staffing Moran felt comfortable with.
On Monday, the department swore in four new officers to get up to 57, the minimum staffing Moran felt was necessary. It has also hired three Class 2 Special Officers, which were also sworn in on Monday, and Clerk Jennifer McConaghy has been rehired, effective Monday.
“We’re also close to hiring a civilian evidence tech,” Moran said. “That will free up an officer for the streets.”
At one time, the department had 74 officers.
Officers Ronald Gorneau, Daniel Choe, Christian Magazzu, and Jacqueline Crocker were sworn in as full-time officers at the municipal complex Monday morning.
Each officer will earn $51,714 annually, and the department had that money built into this year’s budget.
They will also receive an extra $2,000 toward obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree.
Ronald J. Stephensen, Ryan C. Dubiel and Przemyslaw P. Ryba were sworn in as Class 2 Special Officers. They are part-time, and earn $14 an hour, money that was also available in this year’s budget.
“It’s been a very good couple of weeks,” Moran said. “From having to tell people they’re out of work to bringing them back, but having to tell two people their jobs are no longer available, it’s a real upswing for me to be able to hire new officers.”
Moran told two officers their jobs were no longer available, but in April, he was able to bring one of those officers, John Mooney, back into the fold. The other officer had already obtained a job with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
All four full-time officers went to work on Monday, and must spend 49, 12-hour shifts with a specially-trained field trainer before hitting the streets on their own.
One of the Class 2 Special Officers will work over 20 hours a week, and the others must all remain below that limit.
Of the four full-time officers, only Gorneau, 28, resides in Galloway Township. He has an associate’s degree from Ocean County College, and has already earned 40 credits from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
He is a 2006 graduate of the Cape May County Police Academy, and received numerous commendations while working for the Hamilton Township Police Department. The Galloway Township Police Department offers a second chance for him, as he was laid off due to budgetary reasons.
Choe, 33, lives in Cherry Hill, but was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and later moved to Argentina. He came to the United States in 1996, and obtained citizenship in 2004.
He is fluent in Spanish and Korean, and can also speak Portuguese. A former golfer, he spent four years in the Air Force, where he was honored with the Air Force Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in management from Park University, and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Homeland Security at American Military University. He graduated from Cape May County Police Academy in January.
Magazzu, 30, of Linwood, is a union carpenter. He received his bachelor’s degree in American studies with a minor in communications from Rutgers University, and earned the Sharp Shooter Award while at Cape May County Police Academy. He graduated from the academy in January 2010.
Crocker, 26, resides in Sewell. She earned a bachelor’s degree criminal justice from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and served as a Class 2 Officer in the Washington Township Police Department.
She is the first female in the history of the Gloucester County Police Academy to receive the Physical Fitness Leader Award. She also received the Director’s Award and graduated from the academy in May, 2009. She has been employed by the Stockton Police Department.