New cops on the block: Wiley, Leash and Wolfsgruber sworn-in to the MTPD

Wiley and Leash will be assigned to the school district, Wolfsgruber will be a Class II

Edward Wiley, center, is pictured with Mayor Pete Scirrotto reciting the oath for the Mantua Township Police Department with granddaughter London. Wiley will be a school resource officer in the Mantua School District (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

By KRYSTAL NURSE

The Sun

Residents will soon see new faces on the Mantua Township Police Department as three officers were sworn in recently.

Officers Stephen Wolfsgruber (formerly with Seaside Heights), Robert Leash (formerly with Logan Township) and Edward Wiley (formerly with Haddonfield Police) read their oaths at the March 4 committee meeting.

“I’ve been a Class II at Seaside Heights for the past eight months, and so I’ve had a lot of experience there, and I’m excited to take it here,” said Wolfsgruber before the ceremony. “I like the overall feel of the area. Like I told the guys in the interview, I want to stay here for the next 30 years. I want to make this town a career and go to community events.”

Wolfsgruber will be in the department as a Class II officer assisting with various duties.

Left: Robert Leash, center, is pictured with Deputy Mayor Robert Zimmerman reciting the oath for the Mantua Township Police Department with friend Tim Sheehan. Leash will be a school resource officer in the Mantua School District (Krystal Nurse/The Sun). Right: Stephen Wolfsgruber, center, is pictured with Mayor Pete Scirrotto reciting the oath for the Mantua Township Police Department with girlfriend Katelyn Smyth. Wolfsgruber will be a Class II officer within the department (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

Leash and Wiley will be school resource officers within the Mantua Township School District. They added they want to be an extension of the police department, interact with kids on a positive basis and establish a relationship with the schools and administration.

“I’ve worked with kids and been in school districts for many years, and I see the difference when children see us in a different light, as opposed to when we’re stopping their parents for a seat-belt or traffic violation. They definitely see us differently and it’s a good thing,” said Leash.

Wiley, who consistently worked in and out of Haddonfield’s schools, added he always enjoyed working with kids and offering them advice on driving and the laws teens need to obey.

“Obviously, they’ll know if there’s a problem they can come to us and same with the teachers,” he added.

“We have to put police officers in our schools, and it’s great that we have detectives with such experience to protect our children,” said Mayor Pete Scirrotto. The two share around 25 years of experience as officers.

Police Chief Darren White said Leash and Wiley will rotate with SRO Jim Fellon throughout the three schools within the district. He also added the swearing-in of the officers emphasized his mission on being proactive on school safety with the events occurring throughout the country.

White added he has plans to meet with the district’s school security team to finalize when Wiley and Leash will start.

In other news:

  • Public works supervisor Steven Alexander said public works employees are being trained on various equipment to assist the department in the event of an emergency and to provide them with more skills, if they want to advance their careers in the department.
  • Tire amnesty month is this month and unwanted tires can be dropped off at the county’s waste complex (503 Monroeville Road, Swedesboro) until March 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. No tires over a passenger pickup truck size will be accepted.
  • Resident Greg Shast spoke during public comment in objection to a resolution that would support the New Jersey Path to Progress financial reform report. Shast stated there will be “bureaucratic issues in getting things done properly.” Members of the township committee replied, stating it was needed to save the state from bankrupting its pension program. The resolution was later approved.
  • Deputy Mayor Robert Zimmerman said public works is moving closer to transforming some of its tennis courts to pickleball courts.
  • Township Administrator Jennica Bileci said she’s waiting for the sale of a $455,000 liquor license to present the new budget. The license is open to public bid on April 17 at 10 a.m.
  • Cpl. Jeff Leach and Sgt. Bert Brucker’s retirements were accepted by the township. Their retirement is effective July 1.
  • Patrolman Jason Lipsett was nominated for the VFW’s Officer of the Year. White added he’s always volunteering, isn’t afraid to ask questions and has a lot of knowledge in various things.
  • The township’s rabies vaccination clinic is on March 16 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the public works garage. Cats are required to be in a carrier.

The next committee meeting is scheduled for March 18 starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building (401 Main St.).