"I will faithfully and impartially execute the duties of my office as police chief," McDuffie said.
As Spring Lake Mayor Ethel Clark swore in a new police chief, she said she could barely hold back her enthusiasm.
"We have turned around and we are moving forward," Clark said. "I'm really excited about that."
For many, the past seven months has seemed like an eternity.
In early May, the police department was stripped of its arrest powers, the Cumberland County sheriff took over, two officers were arrested for corruption, then Police Chief AC Brown resigned, and the town lost its trust for their officers.
For many town residents, regaining that trust will be the new chief's biggest challenge.
"I think we do need to restore the integrity, for the people here," Spring Lake resident Heidi Giguere said.
Eight officers remained on the force, determined to clear their names and the department's reputation. They were re-trained and were re-certified and they watched with pride as new chief officially took over.
"A lot of work ahead, a lot of high expectations hopefully," McDuffie said. "I am confident we will live up to those expectations."
However, there is a lot riding on the new chief's confidence.
"I'd like to see the department get their powers back," New Town Alderman James Christian said. "I'd like to have full power restored and the trust of the citizens of the town."
The new chief isn't ready to set a firm date on when his department will be fully functioning, but McDuffie said he is hoping the department will regain some of its police powers as early as next month.
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