The town of Secaucus is expanding its ability to staff the police force, which has had a number of retirements, by allowing transfers from other municipalities. The town introduced an ordinance at its council meeting Tuesday to amend the requirements for appointments. The final vote will take place on Feb.14.
In addition, the town hired five new police officers this past week. They must still undergo training and won’t hit the streets until December.
“We are putting a few things in place to ensure that our force remains strong,” said Councilman Gary Jeffas during the meeting.
Transfers now an option
The current process for appointments to the force includes an extensive application process that requires written, physical, and oral examinations followed by a background investigation and a medical and psychological evaluation. By allowing transfers, the town has the ability to hire police officers from other municipalities that have at least two years on patrol. They will still be required to undergo a physical and psychological examination.
“We want to be prepared,” said Mayor Michael Gonnelli in an interview. “We can’t get to the point where we don’t have enough officers out there.”
“We wish you all the best of luck in the academy.” – Mayor Michael Gonnelli
Four additional individuals will be sworn in as probationary officers in March. The town has 53 police officers but the goal is to have 62.
The town also has extra support from the county sheriff’s department, which patrols industrial and commercial areas.
Change in PD structure
The town has also changed the structure of the Police Department. Generally, the department consists of a chief of police, chief of detectives, deputy chief of police, and captains, lieutenants, sergeants and police officers appointed by the mayor and council. The amended ordinance eliminates the position of chief of detectives, which was held by John Buckley, who returns to his previous rank as captain.
The chief of detectives position was introduced by the council two years ago as second-in-command at the Police Department at a $149,000 base salary. The position had an extensive list of duties including the supervising the Investigation Division, overseeing the Services Division, and coordinating investigations of all felonies and other such misdemeanors that require extended investigation. The second-in-command will now fall on the deputy police chief, which is currently vacant. The town also amended the procedures for promotion beyond the rank of captain, supervisory, or a management position to allow officers to apply for a promotion including the deputy police chief. The mayor will appoint three members of a committee including two council members and the chief of police to interview applicants.
Going into training
The five new probationary officers are: Joshua Sigmund, Christopher Rinaldi, Christina Prospero, William Kosky, and William Smith. They will head to the police academy next month. The offers will undergo training to learn how to preserve public order and protect life, liberty, and property within Secaucus. They will hit the streets in December.
“We wish you all the best of luck in the academy and we know when you get out you will do a great job for the town of Secaucus,” said Gonnelli.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.