force took two steps back to full strength Thursday night, with a pair of new patrolmen getting sworn in by the township committee.
Justin Hilt and Anthony Jiles, who both have family ties to the department, were brought on as fifth-class officers—the entry level for the township.
Jiles, a Deptford native who has a cousin on the force currently, will start on patrol on Monday, having spent a year as a rookie police officer in Baltimore.
“I’m very excited,” said Jiles, a Deptford native. “I can’t wait to serve this great community.”
Like Jiles, Hilt, a 2006 West Deptford High School graduate, also has a family connection—his father, Russell, spent 15 years as a police officer in West Deptford.
“It’s going to be some huge shoes to fill,” the younger Hilt said.
After spending a couple of years in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor-league organization after graduating college, Hilt is back for what he called his dream job.
“It’s kind of surreal,” he said. “It’s probably the biggest day of my life.”
Russell Hilt downplayed the notion of his son following in his footsteps, though.
“He’s a born leader,” he said. “I think he’s going to make his own steps.”
Unlike Jiles, Justin Hilt will have to wait to get out on the road. He’ll head to the Gloucester County Police Academy, with the aim of graduating in the December 2012 class.
Chief Craig Mangano said the two will be valuable assets to the department, having passed through the gauntlet already—Mangano had 29 applicants for the inexperienced officer’s position come out to take the physical fitness test, and whittled it down from there.
“They both did very well through the selection process,” Mangano said. “They’ll make a good addition to the department going forward.”