The Washburn Police Department was vacant for months, but not anymore. The keys to the building now belong to Washburn's new police chief, Jeff Moline. Thursday, the village board swore in their new top cop.
"I know I'm up for a challenge. Anybody who would have taken this job would have been up for a challenge," Moline said.
It's a presence the town has missed since its last chief left in March. The rest of the department was placed on leave in 2011.
"I lock my doors every night. Now that i have a new cop, I'm really excited," said resident Lavina Washburn.
There's well known tension between residents and local authorities in Washburn. Tensions escalated following a confrontation involving Metamora resident Kenny Meinders and Washburn police last year. Last week, Meinders was found guilty on 4 of 6 counts, including disarming an officer and resisting arrest. Moline wants nothing to do with the situation.
"I wasn't around here. I don't know the whole just of it. I didn't want to know the whole just of it. It wasn't any of my business. Hopefully people don't take that as were the ones that were here. We weren't the ones that were here," Moline said.
"What's happened in the past, happened in the past," said Washburn mayor David Humphrey. "This is a new era. We're starting over and uh, hopefully Jeff will do a fine job."
Moline is leaving the same position in Toluca, and will bring two officers with him. He doesn't plan on taking applications for new officers for a few months. Though he's wearing the same uniforms as the last officers, he's hoping some new faces will create a fresh start with residents."
"Hopefully we can take this back on track in the community and the police department working together," he said.
Moline will work part time as Washburn's police chief until August 6, his official starting date. Until then, Woodford County Sheriff's Department will continue to take emergency calls in Washburn.