Camden Mayor Dana Redd said Thursday she will use $2.5 million from the South Jersey Port Corporation to put some laid-off police officers and firefighters back on the job from April 1 through June 30.
After the announcement in the Camden Police Administration Building, Fernando Badillo and other laid-off workers gathered outside. Since he was laid off from his job as a Camden police officer two months ago, Badillo said his family struggled to pay for surgery his wife needed. Badillo said they even pulled 3-year-old Jayden out of pre-school because they couldn’t afford it. “He’s at home,” Badillo said, “I’m teaching him the ABC’s, I’m teaching him everything I can so he can learn, until we get back on our feet and he can go back to school.” Badillo expects he will be among the 50 police officers to be rehired. Standing next to him, his wife, Lily Alicea, smiled, “I’m excited, happy. We’ve been struggling for these couple of months,” she said. “And it’s better for the city of Camden–they’re getting more officers on the streets, and for the citizens.” Laid-off Camden firefighter William “Pete” Perez said he does not expect to be one of the 15 rehired. “April 1, it will be 15 of my fellow brothers and sisters, which I’m thankful to God and to the people that put the effort to get those people back,” Perez said. “Don’t take away anything bad about today. It is a great day for the start of rehiring public safety and restoring some type of public safety to the citizens of this city.” Even after the temporary rehiring, the city will still be down about 120 police officers and 45 firefighters.