(CBS) — Soon to be patrolling streets across the country: new police vehicles made at the Ford plant in Chicago.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports it’s a welcome news for thousands of Ford employees here who remember it wasn’t long ago when the outlook was bleak.

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Ron Coppage is a third generation Ford employee in Chicago.

His father and his brothers worked at the Torrence Avenue plant, too.

He’s seen all kinds of changes, including the latest news today.

Ford CEO Mark Field announced one of two new Ford hybrid police vehicles will be built in Chicago. Both will be equipped with police gear, much like traditional squad cars are right now.

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The reaction among the 4,000 union workers here is one of joy, Coppage says.

“We’re getting new product at Ford Motor Company. That means the world to employees there, the membership there because we get an opportunity to provide for our families,” he says.

Local union president Chris Pena recalls a few years ago, during the economic downturn, the Ford plant was down to one shift.

Today, three shifts are humming around the clock.

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“The morale’s at an all-time high, I’d say,” Pena says.