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Bellmawr Police Officers Receive Promotions; Three New Patrolmen Are Hired

By Chris Concannon

Gloucester City News

  Five Bellmawr Police officers were promoted and three patrolmen were sworn in during the April Borough Council meeting.

  The following promotions were conducted by Councilman Jim D’Angelo:

  Craig Wilhelm was promoted to Captain; Scott Parker, Michael Ryan and Jeffrey Vance were promoted to Sergeant; and William Perna Jr. was promoted to Corporal.

  The new police officers, also sworn in by D’Angelo, were Paul Sandrock III, Jared Walton and Chris Wilhelm.

  The elder Captain Wilhelm, with more than 27 years in the Department, stood as his son was sworn in, wiping his eyes as Chris took his oath.

  Officer Sandrock was a recent victim of the massive public safety layoffs in Camden City, but has found a new home as a Bellmawr officer.

  These promotions and additions follow the recent retirement of five officers with a combined 152 years of police experience: Rocco Romano (35 years), Robert Swanson (33 years), Gordon Muller (31 years), Daniel Moody (27 years) and James Kenney (26 years).

  Mayor and Council all congratulated the promoted and new officers, and thanked the retirees in attendance for their years of service.

  Mayor Frank Filipek said he was amazed to see so many people turn out for the ceremonies, and that he knows the new officers will do a good job.

  He also said the promoted officers will continue to do a good job in their new capacities, and that where other municipalities are laying officers off, Bellmawr is not only hiring more, but promoting their own as well.

  In Committee reports, Mr. D’Angelo commented on a recent erosion problem at the Anderson Avenue hockey rink that has since been corrected.

  In the public forum, Kennedy Boulevard resident Marge Johnston asked about the new benches and landscaping installed at the playground, along with questions on speed limit signage, as well as a recently cancelled Committee meeting.

  Police Chief Bill Walsh said that state law sets residential speed limits at 25 mph, and that the only way to change that would be to change the Borough ordinance.

  Johnston was also told that any changes and/or cancellations for all meetings are announced by public notice in local newspapers.

  Steve Sauter then read a proclamation, marking the 60th Anniversary for the National Day of Prayer, which will be Thursday May 5, from 12:20 to 12:40 p.m., in front of Borough Hall. Pastor Vincent Kovlak (Bellmawr Baptist Church) invited all residents to attend the short service.

  All business on the evening’s agenda was unanimously approved, with the following of note:

  Four ordinances were given their second reading and final adoption: Code fees; Fire safety registration and code fees; Peddler and dog fees; and Water rates.

  Four new ordinances were introduced on first reading:

  Water rates, which the mayor said was put in place for over-use of Bellmawr water.

  Reconstruction of Chalmers Avenue and Hampton Place at a cost of $370,500, with $351,950 being issued for its financing. The project was funded through a Community Development Block Grant.

  Replacement of pumps, shafts spider bearings and columns on Well #4, appropriating $50,000 for its financing.

  Provisions, regulations, fees and penalties for rental properties. Filipek said every rental property will be inspected on an annual basis.

  For information contact Borough Hall at 933-1313, or go to